Disinformation offenses jump over threefold in latest presidential election: prosecution

SEOUL-- The number of electoral disinformation offenses jumped more than threefold in the latest presidential election from five years ago, the prosecution said Thursday.

The Supreme Prosecutors Office also said 732 people have been booked for investigation on suspicions of election offenses, nearly doubling from 435 in the previous election in 2017.

Of those booked, 698 are currently under investigation, with nine in the custody of law enforcement bodies.

Disinformation offenses, such as public opinion rigging, accounted for the bulk of the total with 431, soaring more than threefold from 126 five years ago and over fourfold from 100 in the 18th presidential election in 2012.

Other offenses included damaging official election posters, bribery and election meddling by public officials.

The sharp increase in electoral offenses is attributable to a jump in official complaints of suspected disinformation campaigns filed by political parties and civic groups in the closely contested presidential election, officials said

Of all the disinformation offense cases filed in the latest presidential race, 83 percent were lodged by political parties and civic organizations. The corresponding rates were 33 percent in the 18th presidential election and 58 percent in the 19th.

Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party was announced the next president earlier in the day, with the smallest ever 0.73 percentage-point gap over liberal rival Lee Jae-myung.

Source: Yonhap News Agency