SEOUL: A South Korean software developer was fined Friday (Sep 1) for editing then leading presidential candidate Moon Jae-In’s Wikipedia entry to say that he was North Korean.
The 53-year-old man, surnamed Yang, was fined four million won (around US$3,500) by the Seoul Central District Court for altering the online encyclopedia’s Korean edition in February to say that Moon, who was vying for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination at the time, was a North Korean politician.
He made the same alteration to the page of Seongnam city mayor Lee Je-Myung, a popular leftist politician.
Moon, the son of North Korean refugees, backs engagement with Pyongyang as well as sanctions to bring it to the negotiating table, and his opponents have long sought to portray him as sympathetic to the neighbour.
“The accused altered the nationality of the two people as North Korean, an act that could undermine their public images and spread a false perception among voters that they were pro-Pyongyang,” the court said.
South Korea is one of the world’s most connected countries.
The court said the fact that readers were unlikely to take what Yang wrote as true was a mitigating factor, as was his correction of it six hours later.
Moon went on to secure the party nomination and was elected by an overwhelming margin in a snap poll in May after his predecessor Park Geun-Hye was impeached over a massive corruption case.