There are voices of concern that the government’s authority to enforce quarantine regulations will disappear after the court pleaded innocent to the general president of the Shincheonji Temple of Evidence (Shincheonji), Lee Man-hee (89), who was charged with violating the Infectious Disease Prevention Act. Accordingly, the legal community said, “At the time, it is necessary to take into account that there was no penalty for refusing to provide information,” he said.
Voices of concern about weakening’force of quarantine rules’
On the 13th, Suwon District Law Criminal Division 11 (Director Lee Mi-kyung) judged President Lee’s charges of violating the Infectious Disease Prevention Act as innocent, and all charges of embezzlement as guilty, and sentenced him to three years in prison and four years of probation. Previously, Chairman Lee was charged with collusion with Shincheonji officials in February last year, when a novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19) was spreading around Shincheonji, and reported to the quarantine authorities by reducing the list of members and meeting places.
However, the Ministry of Justice said, “The epidemiological investigation by the infectious disease prevention method is related to the patient’s personal information, the date and location of the onset, and the cause of the infection, etc., as activities related to the size of infectious disease patients, tracking the source of infection, and identifying the cause of adverse reactions. All facilities and lists requested for submission do not correspond to the contents of epidemiological investigations prescribed by law.” Since the request of the quarantine authorities itself does not correspond to the contents of the epidemiological investigation, it cannot be punished for interference.
In response to this ruling, some have questioned whether it would be punishable even if they refused to submit the list when the second Shincheonji incident broke out. Accordingly, an official of the Suwon District Law said, “The request for information such as the list of members and the status of facilities falls under the’preparatory stage for an epidemiological investigation’, not an’epidemiological investigation’, and the penalties for not following this were newly established only in September of last year. It seems that the prosecution was charged with interfering with the epidemiological investigation.” He added, “There is a high possibility that the prosecution will apply the newly established regulations in the future to prosecute.”
According to Article 76 2 of the Infectious Disease Prevention Act, a request can be made to provide information on infectious diseases patients or suspected infectious diseases in the preparation stage of an epidemiological investigation. However, Article 79, No. 3 of the Infectious Diseases Act, which is a punishment for refusing to provide information, was newly established on September 29 last year.
Attorney Park Seong-min (Law Firm LF), who was a former specialist, said, “There must be a punishment regulation at the time of the criminal punishment, so it seems that innocence came out.” “Currently, there are rules that can be punished for refusing to provide information. Because of the loss, the authority to enforce quarantine measures does not disappear.”
Reporter Woorim Lee [email protected]