March 16, 2015 11:40
Demand for police protection services has been increasing since the slasher attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert.
On March 10, the Seoul Metropolitan Government asked police to protect Swiss Ambassador Jörg Al Reding and Norwegian Ambassador Torbjørn Holthe as they were visiting City Hall to observe its real-time traffic information system. It was the first time for the city government to ask police to provide security for visitors to City Hall.
Last year, about 160 foreign dignitaries including Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Finnish Ambassador Matti Heimonen visited City Hall for the same purpose, but they got no police protection.
But since the slasher attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert, an increasing number of event organizers have requested police security details.
On March 6, the day after the slasher attack, some 20 police officers were dispatched to a meeting of politicians including Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung, New Politics Alliance for Democracy Chairman Moon Jae-in, and South Gyeongsang Governor Hong Joon-pyo.
The meeting was held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, where Lippert was attacked.
In the past, only two or three police officers would guard the venue.
More foreign diplomats have also asked for police protection. Kang Shin-myung, the commissioner of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, said on March 11 eight foreign embassies here have asked for police protection.
Private security companies are booming. "There's been more than a 50 percent increase in demand for security services since the attack on Lippert. We have difficulty handling the requests," a staffer with a private security firm said. "We're shorthanded as many people are asking for a detail of six or seven bodyguards for an event that needs only one or two."
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