The Supreme Court on Thursday declared an opposition lawmaker guilty of violence, upholding a lower court's fine of 3 million won ($2,595.6).
Rep. Kang Ki-kab of the United Progressive Party was found guilty of obstructing parliamentary operations during his protest in 2009 against a media reform bill that allowed large businesses to own stakes in major broadcasting stations. He interfered with security guards' duties by assaulting them and used foul language to protest their forced breakup of a sit-in against the bill by ultra-progressive Democratic Labor Party (DLP) lawmakers.
The 58-year-old former chairman of the DLP will be able to maintain his legislative seat, as Korean law stipulates that punishments lighter than imprisonment allow lawmakers to keep their seats.
The top court's decision upheld the ruling by Seoul's appellate court in September last year, after a lower court first acquitted Kang of the charges, saying the legislator was entitled to protest as a party leader.
Throughout Korea's political history, lawmakers have frequently resorted to sit-in protests to block legislation. Violent clashes in parliament are not unusual. (Yonhap)