Arrest warrant sought for 2 suspects over vandalizing Seoul palace walls

December 20, 2023

Police have sought an arrest warrant for a teenager for drawing 44-meter-long graffiti on the walls of a historic palace in central Seoul last weekend, officials said Thursday.

The 17-year-old, only identified by his surname Im, is accused of spray painting the phrase “free movie” in Korean on both sides of the western gate to Gyeongbok Palace and palace walls near the National Palace Museum of Korea on Saturday.

Also sprayed were the names of illegal video-sharing and streaming platforms, with similar graffiti also found on the walls of the nearby Seoul Metropolitan Agency.

Police caught the suspect three days later at his home in Suwon, 30 kilometers south of Seoul, before arresting a 16-year-old female accomplice nearby minutes later, according to the Seoul Jongno Police Station.

The police said they have requested an arrest warrant for Im the previous day on charges of violating the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. But they released the female accomplice, saying she did not directly engage in the vandalism herself.

During police investigations, the duo confessed they committed the crime after receiving a request from a stranger on social media, who promised to pay “hundreds of won” in return.

The teens reportedly received a total of 100,000 won (US$ 76.66) from the unidentified client on two occasions and purchased the spray paint used in the crime.

The police plan to expand their investigations to uncover the person who instigated the crime.

Meanwhile, the police also sought an arrest warrant for a suspect in his 20s over allegedly spray painting the name of a singer and their album on the same walls, in a suspected copycat crime following the similar scribbling a day earlier.

The suspect turned himself in to the police the following day.