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Restoring vandalized Gyeongbokgung wall cost W150m

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : May 24, 2024 - 12:13

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Gyeongbokgung Palace (Cultural Heritage Administration) Gyeongbokgung Palace (Cultural Heritage Administration)

Undoing the damage caused by the recent defacement of the Gyeongbokgung walls has cost 150 million won ($109,000), the government body in charge of preservation of cultural heritage in South Korea said Thursday.

The Korea Heritage Service, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, revealed the provisional figures on reversing the damage inflicted by the two cases of vandalism in December of last year. Two teens wrote graffiti on the historic walls on Dec. 16, and a man in his 20s did so the next day in copycat crime.

Gyeongbokgung, the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), is designated as Historic Site No. 117. Anyone that causes damage to it can be subject to a mininum three years in prison, under Article 91, Clause 1 of the Cultural Heritage Protection Act.

The KHS said that it plans to file civil charges against the vandals, seeking compensation for the money spent restoring the historic walls. The prosecution has requested a three-year prison term for the 20-something suspect, responsible for the Dec. 17 vandalism.

The two teen perpetrators of the Dec. 16 vandalism are also under investigation, although the court recently rejected the prosecution's request for an arrest warrant for one of them.

The South Korean police on Wednesday arrested a man in his 30s suspected of hiring the two teens to paint the graffiti on the walls. The graffiti consisted of promotional messages for an illegal video downloading website that the man runs.