Seoul's iconic palace walls vandalized despite high security

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 18, 2023, 15:45 Updated : December 18, 2023, 15:45
SEOUL -- The walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main palace of the Joseon dynasty (1392~1897), located in the heart of Seoul were vandalized with spray paint despite the palace area being one of the most heavily guarded areas in the capital city.

Gyeongbokgung is an iconic palace in Seoul that was visited by some 3.4 million people in 2022. The area near the Blue House, the former presidential office, remains a high-security area with a score of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Platoons of policemen patrol the area regularly and any suspicious persons will be stopped and questioned by law authorities.

According to Seoul Jongno Police Station, an unknown passerby sprayed slogans such as "Free Movies" and internet addresses of some websites onto the walls of the main palace in the early morning of December 16 using spray paint cans. Another act of vandalism occurred at about 10:20 p.m. (1320 GMT) on December 17 near the first graffiti site.

The police said that they are unsure whether the sabotages were made by the same person or group. However, the law authorities predict that the walls were vandalized by more than two people, but it would take time to specify the vandals as they evaded areas monitored by CCTV cameras.

The damaged walls are currently covered by screen tarps to prevent people from looking. The Cultural Heritage Administration told reporters during a briefing that the damages will be recovered as soon as possible through chemical treatment and washing by conservators.
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