Annual Review 2016: Human Rights Situation of LGBTI in South Korea

8. Police

updated 2017.08.09 11:54 by sogilaw

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency commits human rights infringing measure against HIV positive conscripted police officer

On May 24, 2016, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, in the process of addressing a case where conscripted police officer “A” received an HIV positive test result, implemented human rights infringing measures by forced sending to hospital, forced HIV tests for all officers, and disinfecting barracks, which was based on prejudice and discriminatory views against people living with HIV.[1]

Officer “A”, who had participated in a group blood donation, received an HIV positive test result from the public health center and sought counseling from the police agency’s grievance department.[2] However, the day after counseling, most news companies reported in detail that “Conscripted Police Officer A of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Riot Squad” was found to be “HIV positive”. Some media companies even reported information on the individual’s last name.[3] The process how the information confidential under the “Prevention of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Act” and “Personal Information Protection Act” was leaked and printed was not identified. The police authorities stated that “A” was sent to a hospital for an in-depth medical examination and would be subject to relief from duties when confirmed to be HIV positive. Also, they further explained that all officers who have worked with and share living quarters with “A” are being tested for HIV. It was found that A’s living quarters were disinfected.[4]

The Korean Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS “KNP+” released a statement criticizing the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s excessive measures on May 25, 2016.[5] KNP+ criticized the Agency for failing to prevent the leakage of personal information and hindering an individual’s well-being and safety. In addition, KNP+ criticized the Agency for its excessive measures including forcing HIV tests for all officers and disinfecting living quarters, despite there being no possibility of the disease spreading in everyday life, and for justifying these measures in the media and spreading social stigma and fear against people living with HIV.



[1] “Conscripted police officer of Seoul Police Agency riot squad found HIV-positive… Police say other officers are being tested”, The Chosun Ilbo, 5/24/2016
[2] “Open Mic: People living with HIV/AIDS, tell us your story!”, BeMinor, 6/13/2016
[3] “Conscripted police officer of Seoul Police Agency riot squad found HIV-positive… Transferred to hospital”, Yonhap News, 5/24/2016
[4] “Open Mic: People living with HIV/AIDS, tell us your story!”, BeMinor, 6/13/2016
[5] “Statement – Incompetent and rash action by the Police Agency spreads fear of AIDS“, Korean Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS “KNP+”, 5/24/2016