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Claim Korean Shackled So Fingerprints Could Be Taken

November 7, 1986

TOKYO (AP) _ Police put a Korean in wooden shackles and forcibly took his fingerprints, which are required of foreigners living in Japan, a Korean youth group and police reported Friday.

The Korean Youth Association said Kim Song-il, 35, was arrested Wednesday for refusing to be fingerprinted. Violators of the alien registration law face deportation, up to a year in prison and fine of 200,000 yen, or $1,230.

Lee Chong-tae, vice chairman of the Tokyo-based youth group, said several police at the Amagasaki Kita police station shackled Kim when he still refused to be fingerprinted. Kim owns a coffee shop in the town 280 miles west of Tokyo.

″I would say the police behavior was inhuman. Our organization is studying the case for further details,″ Lee said in a telephone interview.

He said Kim was the 16th Korean national arrested in recent years for violating the registration law, but ″was the first to be forced in such a brutal manner to submit his fingerprints.″

Takumi Tahara of the Amagasaki police, said: ″Three police investigators had to use the shackles, which we had borrowed from Hyogo prefectural police headquarters in Kobe, because Kim repeatedly refused to be fingerprinted. ″

Other police officials said Kim was freed later Wednesday after his case was referred to the prosecutor’s office for possible trial. Kim could not be reached by telephone Friday.

Under the 1952 law, all aliens at least 16 years old who have lived in Japan for a year must be fingerprinted in order to receive a registration card. The card must be renewed every five years and new fingerprints taken.

Among those affected are nearly 700,000 people of Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese descent, many of whom were brought to Japan as forced laborers before and during World War II. Those born here also must register because birth in Japan does not guarantee citizenship.

Resistance to the law has grown, particularly among Koreans. The Justice Ministry said more than 12,000 of nearly 380,000 foreigners who renewed alien registration cards in the past two years refused, at least initially, to provide fingerprints.

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