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Police vow to take strict action against false reports

No. of false police reports rose from 3,757 in 2021, to 3,946 in 2022, to 4,871 in 2023

April 1, 2024 - 15:04 By Lee Jung-joo
(Getty Images Bank)

The Korean National Police Agency stated Monday that it will begin to strictly respond to false police reports that waste police resources by increasing fines.

Currently under the Punishment of Minor Offenses Act, making a false police report through the 112 hotline is punishable by a fine of up to 600,000 won ($445), imprisonment or both. False police reports are also punishable as obstruction of justice under the criminal code.

Additionally, if a false police report results in a significant waste of police resources and causes potential emotional harm to the responding officers, police officials also have a right to demand compensation for civil damages, according to the police agency.

As reported by the police agency, the number of false police reports that have been penalized has increased every year, from 3,757 in 2021, 3,946 in 2022 to 4,871 in 2023. Between 2021 and 2023, 3,380 offenders were booked for false police reports and 9,194 were sentenced to a summary trial.

The police’s strict response to false police reports comes in light of Monday being April Fool’s Day, as the police have received several false reports on the day of or in the days leading up to April 1.

On April Fool’s Day in 2023, six police officers were deployed after receiving a call from a woman who claimed that she was being held captive in an inn. Once the call turned out to be a false report, the woman was sentenced to a summary trial and a fine. On Sunday, Jeju Seobu Police received a call from a man in his 20s who claimed to be fighting with a man who was threatening him with a knife. Upon confirmation, it was found that the man was drunk when he had made the call, and the police arrested him for violating the Punishment of Minor Offenses Act.

From July 3, those who make false reports to the police may be punished with a fine of up to 5 million won, as the National Assembly passed a law regarding the operation of 112 emergency call services during a plenary session on Dec. 8, 2023. According to the new law, a heavier fine can be placed on those who disturb police officials and prevent them from responding to emergencies quickly.