A 23-year-old man has been arrested on charges of distributing prank text messages announcing conscription in case of an emergency amid the spike in inter-Korean tension over the exchange of artillery fire, police said Friday.
The National Police Agency said the suspect, only identified by his surname Kim, is accused of sending the bogus text messages to four of his former fellow comrades in the military right after North Korea attacked the South on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
North Korea fired artillery rounds at the South on Thursday, demanding a halt to loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts. South Korea responded by firing dozens of shells and warned it will deal firmly with any future provocations. Both countries have placed their militaries on high alert.
In the message pretending to be from the Ministry of National Defense, Kim wrote “discharged soldiers aged from 21 to 33 should attend to emergency calls in case of a declaration of war.”
After sending the message to himself as well, Kim captured the image of the text and spread it to the public, police said, adding he wanted to make people feel anxious for fun.
Under South Korean law, those accused of obstruction of duties, taking advantage of his or her superior hierarchy, can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison or fined up to 10 million won (US$8,300).