Two Liberian government officials from the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) who were arrested by Korean police authority for their alleged involvement in sexual assaults whereabouts are said to be unknown as their respective families are worrying over their condition.
Last September two Liberian officials, Owen Brown and Daniel Tarr were accused of raping two teenagers which subsequently led to their arrest and detention by South Korean police
Mr. Browne tried to argue that he holds a diplomatic passport and enjoys immunity but law enforcement authority in South Korea say that protection does not extend to the allegations for which the two are being held as they were also not on a diplomatic assignment.
South Korean law prohibits the disclosure of identities of minors in alleged sex crimes, while at the same time, local Korean media have also been carrying news of scandal.
Reactions on social media to the scandal have been largely expression of disgust over the alleged behavior of the two Liberian officials. Others are urging a wait and see posture since the two are only accused so far.
According to an online platform, the African Star, quoting residents of a small Liberian community in the Asian country say they are also shocked and disappointed at the news involving their country’s officials.
The Pureum Law Office in South Korea which specializes in providing defense representation for foreigners accused of sex crimes say, “The legal penalty for (quasi) sexual misconduct is up to 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of up to 15 million won. If the perpetrator confesses to his crimes and settles with the victim, the usual sentence is fine. However, if the perpetrator does not settle with the victim, the chance for imprisonment (with a suspended sentence) is quite high…”
A Liberian diplomatic source in Monrovia told African Star over the weekend that the best outcome for the accused officials would be Government-to-Government arrangements for their immediate recall or risk Browne and Tarr spending years in South Korean jail and subsequent deportation, if they prosecuted and found guilty.
Liberian maritime officials in Monrovia over the weekend disclosed the identities of the two accused officials and vowed to cooperate with the investigation of the allegations.
The Liberian mission in Japan which is responsible for consular representation in South Korea has not responded to media inquiries for comment on the matter.