SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Prior to the launch of police investigations into those suspected of committing a crime, victims have been making use of social media to bring attention to their own cases, posting photos of suspects on the Internet.
A case in point is an assault that occurred in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, in July.
The victim, a female driver in her 20s, was assaulted for sounding her horn at a motorbike in front of her, which did not leave even when the signal changed.
The victim decided to make her own public search as she was nervous when she missed the assailant even though a patrol car was dispatched.
She posted the black box footage on her SNS. With the help of netizens, she was able to identify the perpetrator, resulting in an arrest.
In other words, the social media played a crucial role in the arrest of the culprit.
However, mobilizing sources on social media poses side effects. The assailant filed a libel suit against the victim, saying his face was made public without permission.
The police agree the victim’s goal was simply to ensure that the perpetrator was apprehended.
But law enforcement officials are agonizing over the possibility that similar cases could recur in the future depending on the outcome of the investigation.
Meanwhile, critics point out that the phenomenon in which victims directly seek the help of social media services reflects a distrust in the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct proper investigations.
Lee Yung-hyeock, a professor at the department of police science at Konkuk University, pointed out that victims are unhappy with the way police investigate crimes, and are instead leaning on the efficiency of cyberspace.
However, police say they have no choice but to make a strict comparison between necessity, public interest and a suspect’s human rights when deciding on an open search since the principle of the investigation is not to be open to the public.
A police official warned that “victims should be cautious as there could be several repercussions if they disclose the identity of the perpetrator on social media.”
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)