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South Korean Financial Blogger Faces 18 Months of Prison 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-much-prison-time-for-a-tweet dept.
eldavojohn writes "A South Korean blogger named Park Dae-sung has been arrested and charged with destabilizing foreign markets by blogging about declining companies. This is the same blogger who predicted the economic downturn that has been experienced the world over. The Korean Times offers more information on the community college graduate and the accusations levied against him." Several readers have also sent in news that Omidreza Mirsayafi, an Iranian blogger arrested and imprisoned for his writings earlier this year, has now died in custody.
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South Korean Financial Blogger Faces 18 Months of Prison

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  • by stox (131684) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:17AM (#27566943) Homepage

    Blogger arrested for allowing facts to get in the way of a perfectly good argument.

    • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:33AM (#27567003)

      Blogger arrested for allowing facts to get in the way of a perfectly good argument.

      He was arrested, as you know, for "undermining the South Korean economy" with inaccurate ("false") statements on his blog. But if your country's economy can be undermined by a blog, then there is no hope for it anyway. In fact, barring the human rights component of these charges, S. Korea is doing worse harm to its economy by prosecuting this guy and thereby suggesting a mere blog has any influence whatsoever.

      • by CowboyBob500 (580695) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:02AM (#27567105) Homepage
        Same thing happened in the UK - the BBCs business editor [bbc.co.uk] was hauled into parliament [bbc.co.uk] to explain his writings, and just like in South Korea the MPs wanted to blame him for causing the trouble in the UK economy.

        OK he hasn't been threatened with prison, but its clear from incidents like this the world over that those that run the economy and especially the stock market traders actually have no idea what they are doing. For example the same man can apparently cause bank shares to fall [dailymail.co.uk] just with his morning report on BBC news.
        • by rts008 (812749) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:10AM (#27567323) Journal

          That's the problem with basing the economy on IP, it's all smoke and mirrors, nothing tangible to base it on...when it's all just 'numbers' somewhere, those numbers can be easily manipulated.[as per your post]

          Then you have to license thoughts and ideas...How soon before your kid's DNA/genome/*sequence is violating some MegaCorp.'s IP?(do some research here, it's scary already)

          [Not a bash on the U.K., it's arguably far worse here in the U.S.A.]

          You can only trade /sell/buy speculations and play numbers for so long until it all has to be backed by something material.(collateral)

          No one should be surprised by all of this. It was set up decades ago...added onto, and added onto- never looked at head on and fixed.
          White-washing a mud fence only works for fair weather...what could you realistically expect otherwise?
          The rains have come....[get your hip-waders!!]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dragonslicer (991472)

            That's the problem with basing the economy on IP, it's all smoke and mirrors, nothing tangible to base it on...

            I don't think it's really because the economy is based on intellectual property, but because the stock market and financial businesses operate entirely on speculation that comes from invented numbers (the smoke and mirrors part). There were no copyrights, patents (unless someone has patented a method for building up a fake economic system and profiting from the collapse, which sadly wouldn't really surprise me), or trademarks directly involved in the failure of stupidity in the banking industry.

          • by demachina (71715)

            There is a pretty good article on Atlantic from a former official at the IMF call The Quiet Coup [theatlantic.com]. There isn't a lot that is news in it, but it does have a compelling idea, that the U.S. crash has a LOT in common with other crashes around the world in the last couple of decades, including in South Korea a while back.

            The main theme is that Wall Street started growing in economy influence and power in the 80's, THANKS REAGAN, as it recovered from being boring and regulated in the wake of the Depression. As it

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Daengbo (523424)

          There's nothing as cathartic as shooting the messenger, eh?

        • by Thelasko (1196535)

          Same thing happened in the UK - the BBCs business editor was hauled into parliament to explain his writings, and just like in South Korea the MPs wanted to blame him for causing the trouble in the UK economy.

          Meanwhile, Jon Stewart blasts CNBC [wikipedia.org] for not questioning the stability of the financial markets.

      • Bloggers... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        He was arrested, as you know, for "undermining the South Korean economy" with inaccurate ("false") statements on his blog. But if your country's economy can be undermined by a blog, then there is no hope for it anyway. In fact, barring the human rights component of these charges, S. Korea is doing worse harm to its economy by prosecuting this guy and thereby suggesting a mere blog has any influence whatsoever.

        True enough, and in this situation Minerva probably did very little to cause the "global economic downturn" nobody except a few unreconstructed pessimists such as my self and Minerva were expecting since about 2006 at the latest. This looks like petty revenge by humiliated S-Korean politicians. However, a blog, posted at the critical time during a crisis can have the potential to swing events in a disastrous way. Of course we didn't have the internet back in 1962 but if we had had it; I wonder what would ha

        • by Sabriel (134364)

          However, a blog, posted at the critical time during a crisis can have the potential to swing events in a disastrous way.

          Blog / newspaper editorial / talk show / politician's speech / comment overheard in an elevator. Anything can swing events, and as much for good as ill. History is littered with such events - indeed, you might say it is composed of them.

          Or to put it another way, your right to a deterministic timeline ends at my nose. Or keyboard. :)

        • by moranar (632206)

          Yeah, there was no way at all of being widely read or commented in the 1960s. Not a newspaper, not a radio out there where a nutcase could make a point. William R. Hearst sure needed a blog to swing opinion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Daengbo (523424)

        Now that Korea doesn't allow anonymous postings (requiring the citizen's ID number to register) and has started a (mostly unregulated) Inter police taskforce, this type of arrest is surely to become more common.

        I live in Korea, and my friends and I have been blocked (with required scary Internet police warning) from websites they deemed morally questionable. Right now, these mostly appear to be dating and gay sites, but who knows where it'll go from here. Putting a force in place to watch your people and gi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SerpentMage (13390)

        As much I as I do like Free Speech. And I really do, there is one thing that is happening to the blogging world that does need control.

        Slander!

        Yes Slander! I see it all too often in the financial blogging world (I work there) where people will say things without having any evidence.

        Here is what he supposedly said:

        The 31-year-old blogger's crime: falsely reporting that South Korea had barred banks from purchasing U.S. currency. The authorities said the blogger, Park Dae-sung, will find out his sentence on Ap

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Daengbo (523424)

          If you read up and know the story, you will find that the government actually did call up the banks and "strongly discourage" them from trading U.S. currency, In effect, he's being tried on a technicality and being railroaded, and the government -- for all intents and purposes -- did what he said they did. I suspect that they are just upset that he knew, and are looking for a way to silence his blog, which routinely reports anti-majority news.

        • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @07:12AM (#27568499)

          The 31-year-old blogger's crime: falsely reporting that South Korea had barred banks from purchasing U.S. currency. The authorities said the blogger, Park Dae-sung, will find out his sentence on April 20 for posting the inaccurate story that prosecutors said undermined the county's credibility

          First of all, slander is when people talk about it. When it's being written then it's libel.

          Saying that, is it libel when it's the truth? From this washington post article on Park Dae-sung's arrest: [washingtonpost.com]

          Prosecutors claim that one of his postings is clearly false. The government issued an emergency order Dec. 29, Minerva wrote, urging top banks to stop buying dollars. The government has denied issuing the order, but a number of currency traders have told the South Korean media that the government did urge banks that day to refrain from buying dollars.

          So, care to retract your comment? After all, it's in itself rather... libellous.

          • by debrain (29228)

            Saying that, is it libel when it's the truth?

            In common law countries (U.K., Canada, U.S., Aus., Singapore, etc.) it's still libelous because it gives a negative image. However, as a general exception, if the statement is true you have a complete defence to libel and would not be prosecuted.

            • I can only say for sure that truth is a defense to libel in the US. I know in at least part of the UK truth isn't considered a defense against libel.
        • by EllisDees (268037)

          What does it mean when I can't tell if a post is parody or not?

          Free speech is more important than the truth, because only through free discussion can the truth be found.

        • by blueskies (525815)

          That piece of inaccurate blogging is slander! He said something without having proof, and I for one think he should go to jail.

          You wouldn't happen to be south korean would you?

          I think you should go to jail for libeling him. In countries with sane libel laws, truth is a defense in libel. So even if he didn't have proof, if he is right, there should be no penalty.

      • I don't think this case is as unusual or remote as you think:

        http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2008/2008-64.htm [sec.gov]

        US example, but many other countries have strict laws about spreading false rumors about the stock market. Sort of like yelling fire in a crowded theater.

        Now, this guy may or may not have been telling the truth, but that's a matter of fact, not principle. In principle, exactly the same thing could happen here.
        • by EllisDees (268037)

          If I want to write on my blog that I've heard that Steve Jobs has died just to drive the price of Apple stock down, there is nothing that can be done to me as long as I don't have some financial stake in Apple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by teh kurisu (701097)

        The Wired article author deserves 18 months in jail for that particular piece of writing. I had to follow through to the AP article to find out if the blogger had actually been found guilty or not (he hasn't).

        But if your country's economy can be undermined by a blog, then there is no hope for it anyway.

        Free markets the world over are based as much on confidence and rumour as actual assets. Why do you think we're in an economic crisis at the moment? It's because of a lack of confidence in the world marke

        • by blueskies (525815)

          consider that a senior government advisor in the UK was forced to resign recently by a blog

          I can't wait to see the XKCD strip about that. Some blog bitch slapping an advisor until he resigns.

    • by thePig (964303)

      Not quite. If you see the second linked article, page 2 - it seems that government has indeed asked the currency traders to stop buying foreign currency. So, the facts also bear it out.

      p.s -> The first linked article is rather light on facts - and more on sensationalism. Reading that, the view that we get is just the opposite of what they want to convey.

    • by Divebus (860563) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:15AM (#27567163)

      <stupidity>
      I'm glad they finally caught the guy. Maybe now the global economy can heal.
      </stupidity>

    • cyclical argument FAIL
    • definitely applies when it comes to something like economics. You change the severity simply by reporting its existence. Somewhat related to the Barbara Streisand effect.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:17AM (#27566949)

    It's not managers driving their companies to the ground, it's not politics failing to watch over the markets. It's a blogger that warned people about it.

    Glad we found someone nobody misses when he disappears. Though, personally, I'd have missed a few managers and politicians less.

    • by mdielmann (514750)

      Yeah, missing politicians and executives is why these problems get out of hand in the first place. Time to get back on the range.

      • Yeah, not like I didn't try. But try to aim steadily when you're in the middle of a crowd and everyone's nudging you and whispering "shoot, dammit, shoot!"

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:23AM (#27566973)
    No, I mean the S. Korean prez. I mean, the guy's obviously trying to keep up with his comrade up north - you know, the dude with the misfiring missile. Hehehe, get it? Misfiring missile. I kill myself.
  • Believe It. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:41AM (#27567021)

    Expect it.

    Expect more of it. Even in the west.

    Its something I dont understand. Blaming companies when you should be blaming the central bank and the government, for creating artifical credit bubbles and the resulting mania thereafter.

    I mean really, they caused the last one, they'll be causing the next.

    Would you give the keys to your new car after your friend rode your last one into the ground, and you couldn't drive for 15 years?

    I think not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by blahplusplus (757119)

      "Its something I dont understand. Blaming companies when you should be blaming the central bank and the government, for creating artifical credit bubbles and the resulting mania thereafter."

      I don't know what planet you anti-government/free market extremist types live on but if you've been paying attention for the last 20 years and looked in your mailbox and see all the offers for lines of credit and credit cards that damn near every company's been spamming and wants to give you (grocers, wal-mart, etc) not

      • by Swizec (978239)

        I don't know what planet you anti-government/free market extremist types live on but if you've been paying attention for the last 20 years /../ if I were in charge I'd shut these people down, they add NOTHING to the economy except charging people exorbitant rates

        Your argument doesn't quite add up. First you say we shouldn't be blaming the government because they aren't at fault, then you say how you'd fix it if you were the government.

        What is it then? Should we let the government go since they're innocent, or should we be knocking at their doors because they aren't doing enough to prevent things like these as your wonderful example suggests one way they could?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MrEricSir (398214)

          To me it seems both are at fault; the corporations who lobbied for weaker regulation, and the people in the government who saw that regulation through.

          It's tough to point fingers when there's so many people who screwed up. But they all deserve the blame.

          • by terjeber (856226)

            Interesting argument. So, if a three year old kid goes: I want to play with the gun daddy, I want to play with the gun, then it is the child's fault when he shoots mummy in the belly with daddy's gun?

            Companies will lobby for anything that will make them more money in the short term. It is the governments responsibility to govern. Can I also go to congress and beg for a trillion? Would it be my fault if they gave it to me?

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          Your argument doesn't quite add up. First you say we shouldn't be blaming the government because they aren't at fault, then you say how you'd fix it if you were the government.

          Right, in the same way that expecting help from the government in dealing with an earthquake or a forest fire means blaming the government for the earthquake or forest fire.

          Your argument is Not Scottish.

          • by Swizec (978239)
            There's a difference between a natural disaster and a very preventable human disaster nobody wanted to prevent because they were having too much fun filling their pockets and putting it off for later.
            • by Uberbah (647458)

              Not for the basis of your comparison, it's not.

              • by Swizec (978239)
                My comparison has as much basis as a porcupine in a hedgefund.

                That's what economists base their predictions on right?
      • Re:Believe It. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jabithew (1340853) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:59AM (#27567519)

        I don't know what planet you anti-government/free market extremist types live on

        I live on the planet UK. Here on planet UK our central bank has been measuring inflation based on CPI [wikipedia.org], and using this to set interest rates. This index excludes housing costs, unlike the previous RPI, in an era where house prices were the major inflationary pressure. In addition, though RPI has historically been about 1% higher than CPI, Gordon Brown reduced the target by 0.5%, giving more room for inflation.

        Your claim that corporate loan rates are at fault doesn't stack up; low interest rate loans from the Bank of England kept the cost of corporate lending low, and market forces kept price for corporate lending low. Effectively the BoE applied a price ceiling to the wholesale money markets.

        I remember years of being told we had only 2% inflation when the inflation we experienced was closer to 5%. Now we have a situation where the BoE has been forced to print money because the banks have so much of their capital tied up in inflated assets that nobody now wants to touch with a barge-pole. The LIBOR has decoupled from the BoE base rate because the BoE is simply not able to provide enough capital to service existing bank debts, let alone allow them to start loaning on more favourable terms.*

        All the while we're being told that it's ok to print money because RPI is currently zero, even though CPI is still above target.

        Finally, a warning for UK /.ers. Deflation is a myth! CPI will stay high, partly caused by the fall in the pound. If it does, Mr. King will have to raise interest rates, which will cause RPI to shoot through the roof, as the previously negative housing component turns positive. If you don't believe me, look at what the central bankers themselves think [order-order.com] when they're forced to put their own money at risk.

        Actually, one more thing. This diatribe could be taken to be a criticism of the Bank of England. I think that the Bank and its staff have behaved with decency and competence. The criticisms I make are general criticisms of a central bank model, which may still be a least-bad one, and a criticism of the brief they were given.

        *The LIBOR also contains banks' mutual assessment of their reliability i.e. a risk premium. This is enlightening to see.

        • "Your claim that corporate loan rates are at fault doesn't stack up; low interest rate loans from the Bank of England kept the cost of corporate lending low, and market forces kept price for corporate lending low. Effectively the BoE applied a price ceiling to the wholesale money markets."

          Man this is a gross distortion of my argument, No one FORCED the banks to give credit to people who couldn't afford it. To clue you in, I know people on disability who are offered 10,000-20,000 line of credit, who have 5+

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sj0 (472011)

        20 years? How quaint.

        This is nowhere NEAR the first time the government has created policies which created a property boom supported by easy credit.

        The government spent too much money in 1812, expanding the money supply and artificially making credit easy to get. European governments artificially induced a state where US food producers were doing very good by fighting the Napoleonic wars and destroying a lot of food production capacity, which created a speculative bubble in US farming. When the bubble colla

    • Perhaps you haven't noticed, but politicians are corporate owned goods.
    • by Aceticon (140883)

      Politics is the art of managing image. More so in democratic countries - in large nations (most of them) the choice of a representative has everything to do with one's perception of said representative's qualities, not their real qualities: a politician whose only skill is to sell himself will almost always beat one who is a competent leader but a bad salesman.

      In democratic nations, the way politicians do it at the moment is:

      • Keep the idiots (that being the vast majority of people) deceived long enough for s
    • by Uberbah (647458)

      Its something I dont understand. Blaming companies when you should be blaming the central bank and the government, for creating artifical credit bubbles and the resulting mania thereafter.

      Yes, because it's the government's fault that investment firms took on 1:60 asset/liability ratios, inflated a few hundred billion in mortgages into a $45-$60 trillion bubble, and paid top executives vast sums of money even as they drove their companies into the ground.

      • by Sj0 (472011)

        The central bank was lending at such a low rate that it was only rational, until proven otherwise, to keep on taking as much debt as possible at massive profits. Thanks to the housing market, which was artifically propped up by the government enacting legislation which greatly reduced lending standards and increased the number of people who would qualify for the debt for a house, even a foreclosure for a long time meant massive profits -- The bank could sell the foreclosed house and make much more than they

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          The central bank was lending at such a low rate that it was only rational, until proven otherwise, to keep on taking as much debt as possible at massive profits.

          But those "profits" were all based on the (massive) overvaluation of assets. Enron squared.

          Thanks to the housing market, which was artifically propped up by the government enacting legislation which greatly reduced lending standards and increased the number of people who would qualify for the debt for a house

          If you're referring to the conservative

          • by Sj0 (472011)

            I was referring to a lot of things. ARMs weren't even legal until the 80s, and securities banks weren't allowed to touch mortgages until the late 90s.

            Nobody KNEW the assets were overvalued, and in some cases, they still don't. In countries with better banking regulations, prices are still increasing in many markets, because the banking system hasn't yet collapsed.

            Income multiples are a good way to look at house prices. In the market I'm in, 2-3x income(In my case, 120-180k) will get you a VERY nice house. I

  • that is very sad news indeed.
  • by incognito84 (903401) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:48AM (#27567047)
    Anyone who has spent any time in Korea figures this one out pretty quick. Especially if one finds themselves in a legal entanglement. Koreans think Western law is cold, formuliac and overly rational. Korean law often finds it's "reason" in emotional response, a response usually vocalized by the masses or the majority involved in the case.

    It is not the same legal process as one would find in the West, where technicalities and Habeas Corpus rein supreme. Someone made a joke about the goverment detaining this particular blogger because he was more intelligent and resourceful than the government, which made the government jealous. That is more true than you know.

    Additionally, Korea is the most Confucian country in the world which might add some understanding into why laws aren't always followed in a logical way. This blogger made the government "lose face", to be blunt.

    • by caitsith01 (606117) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:30AM (#27567219) Journal

      Laws which are not followed in a logical way are not laws. The whole point of following laws is to make people follow them even when that is not the most popular or expedient course - otherwise they would be unneccessary.

      You are talking about mob rule. It is an objectively worse and less just way to run a society, and it should be condemned.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Yes and no.

        Laws should, if anything, reflect the "moral" code of a society, and they should be supported by the majority. If the Korean people, not just a ruling caste, feels that making someone 'lose face' is something that should be punishable, a law that does just that is quite justified.

        Bending a law to fulfill this role is not.

        What bothers me is that a law that exists for a completely different reason was bent to make this possible. But it's not like we don't have similar cases, where we can't punish s

    • Confucius say, that's no way to run a country.
    • by onionlee (836083) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:45AM (#27567491)
      moderators please mod parent down.

      the above statement is clearly unqualified. and no, i am not a korean nationalist.

      i would agree that the korean justice system is not as established as it is in the united states. however, to simply state that it's "reason" is emotional response cannot be substantiated in ANY way whatsoever. no justice system can operate on such a weak foundation.

      furthermore, simply using a western paradigm to judge an eastern paradigm is also simply wrong.

      in all seriousness, though, a statement this ignorant and misleading in most context might even make me believe that this is trolling at its worst. but i think the parent is serious about this though.
      • by iwein (561027) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @04:32AM (#27567671)

        The grandparent just offers his analysis. No judgement is expressed if you read carefully. You may disagree, but from your post it seems that it was a good post sparkling an interesting discussion. I'm confused why you think that is "trolling at its worst".

        Further more, you write about the statements being "unqualified" and "cannot be substantiated in ANY way", while you offer no arguments to back this up other than "no justice system can operate on such a weak foundation" and "is also simply wrong".

        I'm reading: parent is so clearly wrong that I won't bother to give arguments, and because he is wrong he must be trolling.

        I'd like to see grandparents claims substantiated or refuted. Modding grandparent down will lead to less readers, and therefore the chances of someone offering more information, or refuting the claims will go down.

      • aww. Isn't that cute. CTS got another account.

      • by russotto (537200)

        furthermore, simply using a western paradigm to judge an eastern paradigm is also simply wrong.

        Why, are Koreans somehow fundamentally different from Americans and other westerners? Assuming it is unjust (not merely illegal or unconstitutional, but fundamentally unjust) for an American to be jailed for saying unflattering but true things about his government, how can it be just for a Korean to be jailed for saying unlattering but true things about his government? And does the same apply for North and South

      • furthermore, simply using a western paradigm to judge an eastern paradigm is also simply wrong.

        It's not wrong for "right" to judge "wrong".

  • by DeltaQH (717204)
    enough said
  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:07AM (#27567129) Homepage

    From the first link "The 31-year-old blogger's crime: falsely reporting that South Korea had barred banks from purchasing U.S. currency" which doesn't seem to describe the claim of "blogging about declining companies" the summary purports.

    This also apparently had a real impact on the value of South Korean currency.

    I would hope the SK courts don't punish him for making an honest mistake, if that's what this was, but either way it is not about "free speech." They are not punishing him for expressing a view or opinion. They are punishing him for telling a very expensive lie.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dionysus (12737)

      From the Washington Post article:

      Prosecutors claim that one of his postings is clearly false. The government issued an emergency order Dec. 29, Minerva wrote, urging top banks to stop buying dollars. The government has denied issuing the order, but a number of currency traders have told the South Korean media that the government did urge banks that day to refrain from buying dollars.

    • by freedom_india (780002) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:29AM (#27567213) Homepage Journal

      Oh, is it so?
      Then how come these moronic South Korean courts don't punish Samsung or Hyundai by imprisoning their execs when they played the markets?
      Just because they are HUGE corporates? Just because their leaders bowed deeply and said sorry to everyone?
      This is just because the blogger is a poor guy who has no money to defend himself with high powered lawyers against a corrupt system.
      While we are at that why don't we throw out democracy? After all the rule of Kings was much better: genetic intelligence versus mob rule.

      • In case you didn't realize this. The mega corporations in SK completely and thoroughly own the government. It makes the collusion in the US look like a walk in the park.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        While we are at that why don't we throw out democracy? After all the rule of Kings was much better: genetic intelligence versus mob rule.

        Wait, "genetic intelligence" (whatever the fuck that is) is better than mob rule? What the hell are you smoking? The mob is better than a bunch of inbred dumbfucks any day of the week.

        • If mob rule is so Great, why then does our congress and stupid fuck senate, consisting of "outbreds" do nothing except shovel our tax money to private companies without oversight?
          Is it because they are exceptionally brilliant having a combined IQ of 20,000+?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:55AM (#27567291)

      I am a South Korean, and I'll clarify.

      The blogger (Minerva) claimed that South Korean government issued an "official order" for Korean banks not to purchase USD for a certain (short) period. IIRC, the average exchange rate during that particular day was going to be used in a lot of financial charts, so by gaming the system, many companies would look financially better in documents and the government will boast it to the people.

      Turns out that there was no official order. Why create an official document when a phone call would suffice?

      And, ladies and gentlemen, in South Korea, this is a felony that will ensure 18 months in prison. Only if he had correctly said "phone calls"! (Well, of course the government would've found yet another even more ridiculous excuse to punish him, so it won't matter much in the end. They are immune to logic. Why follow logic, when you can just throw one bullshit argument and another and still have half of the nation vote for you?)

    • by mea37 (1201159)

      For the sake of argument, let's say you've got the facts exactly right.

      How would that not be about free speech? That a position or view is at odds with facts -- even if it is at odds with facts known to the speaker -- does not make it "not a position or view", or "not experssion".

      Certain lies are illegal even in countries with strong concepts of free speech; but not all iles. Fraud, defamation, reckless endangerment... these can all limit free speech. I'd question whether this blogger's contribution (if

  • Popcorn... (Score:5, Funny)

    by creimer (824291) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:14AM (#27567159) Homepage
    Maybe I shouldn't blog about how bad the popcorn had gotten at the local movie theater since the economy went into the crapper. The movie theater could go out of business. Actors could be laid off. Hollywood could demand a federal bailout. Then I could be arrested for causing chaos in the marketplace of recycled ideas.

    Then again, the popcorn really does suck. Maybe I should call a food inspector instead.
    • Ohhh, please do! I'd love to see the MPAA sue the FDA because bad reviews cause a dive in sales!

      I'll grab some Popcorn and watch. Or, thinking about what you said, better some other snacks.

  • by Slayer (6656) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:57AM (#27567293)

    Anyone remember the UA debacle [domain-b.com] last September? If the markets are sufficiently hysterical, you can make them plunge with a single headline, regardless whether it's correct or not. The wrong reporting about UA was corrected immediately, yet it sent the markets into a nose dive from which they haven't recovered yet. Regardless of whether the blogger is correct with his statements or not, I would call the reaction of the south korean gov't alarming and telling of the economic troubles soon to emerge there.

    So what this incident with the south korean blogger tells me:

    • The south korean economy is on the verge of big trouble
    • The south korean government is aware of it and desperately tries to keep this concealed
    • The south korean government has never heard a thing about the Streisand effect
    • by NereusRen (811533)

      The wrong reporting about UA was corrected immediately, yet it sent the markets into a nose dive from which they haven't recovered yet.

      This is the same ridiculous, absurd reasoning that makes the summary sound so crazy. (In the case of the summary, it seems the real story is a bit more complicated [slashdot.org]. A misleading summary on Slashdot? I'm shocked, SHOCKED etc.)

      UAL's stock (symbol:UAUA) recovered most of its value later that day, and the rest shortly after that. You can't even tell when the false story broke if you look at the last year [yahoo.com] of the stock's price.

      The US market nosedive is a symptom of the bust portion of the latest boom/bust cycle d

      • by Slayer (6656)

        I'm afraid my post was not entirely clear and/or you misread it. The fact that UA stock plunged after a single wrongly reported article shows that the whole stock market was in a state of panic at that time, due to the immanent burst of the housing bubble and the much larger bubble created by structured financial products, and reckless banks/insurances betting on these products way beyond their financial capability. Poor journalism just accidentally triggered the whole mechanism of panic sales, plunging sto

  • Stupidity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Davemania (580154) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @03:04AM (#27567305) Journal
    Accurate or not, the arrest of this blogger does more damage than bloggers will ever do. It undermines the judicial code and transparency, I really wonder how foreign investor will feel when a country's judicial and political system acts like this.
  • If his comments were targeted with the intent of creating dischord in the markets, then yes, he should be punished.

    Being able to distinguish "Creating market volatility" from "Informing about possible future problems" is not that difficult.

    Personally, this sounds like he wanted to make some cash off of shorting stocks using a "Reverse Pump And Dump" scheme to drive the prices down.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ihavnoid (749312)

      However, the problem is that he didn't have any stocks or any assets. He was merely a jobless man on his early thirties who didn't have any formal education on economy. That's why the DA is not convicting him for some kind of law on securities or market arbitration, which is far more severe than publishing false information. what he claims is that the DA is charging him because he was merely grumbling that the government is a stupid big liar, though some of the information was not throughoutly fact-check

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