Chinese guards assault South Korean journalists covering Moon visit

South Korean journalists covering President Moon Jae-in’s China visit are being treated for eye, nose and back injuries after they were punched and kicked by Chinese security guards at a business event on Thursday.

South Korea has registered a strong complaint with the Chinese authorities and demanded action. The security team from Moon’s office is trying to identify the guards involved in the assault.

The incident happened around 10.56 am at the China National Convention Center where Moon was visiting booths of Korean companies taking part in an event to promote South Korea-China trade ties.

Trouble started after Moon and most of his security personnel left the first hall and Chinese guards prevented Korean reporters and photojournalists from following him. The journalists told them they were just doing their job. They tried to force their way into second hall when the guards grabbed a photographer from Hankook Ilbo newspaper, Koh Young-kwon, by the collar. They then pushed him to the floor so hard that he was unable to stand for a while.

Another photojournalist taking photos of the scene had his camera taken from him.

After the scuffle, the journalists were allowed to move to the second hall but 15 other guards stopped them from proceeding.

When Lee Chung-woo, a photojournalist from Maeil Business News, protested, the guards punched and kicked him on the face. They did not listen to a couple of staffers from Moon’s presidential office who tried to stop them.

Photojournalists Koh and Lee were moved to the guesthouse where Moon is staying for emergency treatment by the president’s medical team. Koh was hurt in the back while Lee’s eyes were swollen and nose was bleeding.  Lee was later taken to a hospital after he complained of dizziness and nausea.