The Gyeongbukgung Palace, one of the most iconic historical cultural sites in Seoul, has been vandalized, as per reports on December 16.
That day, at around 2:20 am, the Jongno Police Station received a report about the apparent vandalism. The culprit sprayed a phrase that reads “free movie” and a website URL in Korean in red and blue paint along the Western walls of the royal palace. The outer walls of the National Palace Museum of Korea have also been painted with similar graffiti.
The Jongno Police Station has launched a formal investigation and is analyzing CCTV footage to track the suspect. The authorities are also looking into the possibility of charging the culprits with violation of the Cultural Protection Heritage Act.
Meanwhile, the Cultural Heritage Administration plans to kick off the restoration work soon. As of now, the vandalized walls have been covered with black tarp.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace, built in 1935, holds a very significant place in the history of South Korea, as it was the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty. Much of the palace was systematically destroyed by Imperial Japan during its occupation of Korea. In 1963, it was designated a cultural property, and in the 90s, South Korea Kicked off restoration efforts. Today, it serves as a landmark site in Seoul, frequented by tourists from all over the world.