[The Hwankyung Ilbo] The number of accusations of environmental laws violations is increasing every year, while the percentage of people being acquitted or being suspended of indictment is more than 30 percent.
According to the data from 8 regional environmental agencies under the Ministry of Environment, 3,232 cases have been prosecuted for environmental law violations since 2015, but 1,011 cases, 31.2%, have been acquitted or suspended of indictment.
On the other hand, only 23 cases (0.7%) were sentenced to imprisonment and 20 cases (0.6%) were fined more than 10 million won. 1,452 cases (44.9%) were fined of less than 3 million won, which is a relatively light punishment.
The results categorizing all the cases by type of crime show that chemical substances (1,320 cases) were followed by air quality (743 cases), water quality (445 cases), others (370 cases) and waste (364 cases).
"The current monitoring system is difficult to respond to intelligent and organized environmental crimes," said Shin Chang-hyun of the Democratic Party of Korea. "We must strengthen institutional devices to cope with ever-evolving environmental crimes by expanding punitive penalties.”
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