Graffiti vandals face W150 mil. fine for Gyeongbok Palace wall restoration costs

Cultural heritage restoration experts work to remove graffiti  on the Gyeongbokgung Palace wall near the National Palace Museum in Jongno District, Seoul, Dec. 14, 2023. Yonhap

Cultural heritage restoration experts work to remove graffiti on the Gyeongbokgung Palace wall near the National Palace Museum in Jongno District, Seoul, Dec. 14, 2023. Yonhap

The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) plans to charge the perpetrators who last year defaced the walls of Seoul’s Gyeongbok Palace with spray-painted graffiti, which resulted in 150 million won ($109,500) worth of restoration costs.

The restoration costs for the first incident were estimated at approximately 131 million won, while the second incident cost around 19 million won, according to the CHA, Thursday.

These amounts include the cost of renting specialized equipment, purchasing protective gear and the labor costs relating to the cultural heritage preservation experts.

The CHA will file a civil lawsuit against the apprehended perpetrators of both the first and second incidents of vandalism.

The Gyeongbok Palace graffiti occurred in two separate incidents last December, involving different individuals.

The first incident involved an 18-year-old man, whose surname is Lim, and a 17-year-old woman, Kim, who spray-painted approximately 30 meters of graffiti on Yeongchumun Gate and the surrounding area near the National Palace Museum with phrases such as “Free Movies.”

The following day, a man in his 20s imitated this act, leaving a 4-meter-long piece of spray-painted graffiti, which included the name of a specific singer, on the walls of Gyeongbok Palace.

A man in his 30s, who the police allege has orchestrated the first graffiti incident, was arrested by police Thursday, six months after the incident occurred.

He is accused of offering Lim and Kim 3 million won to vandalize the walls of Gyeongbok Palace.

The perpetrator of the second graffiti incident has been indicted for violating the Cultural Heritage Protection Act and is currently on trial.

This article from the Hankook Ilbo, sister publication of The Korea Times, was translated by generative AI and edited by The Korea Times.

 

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