South Korea police launch raid on doctors’ association over walkout

March 02, 2024
Nearly 10,000 junior doctors -- about 80 percent of the trainee workforce -- walked off the job last week. — Jung Yeon-je

SEOUL: South Korean police launched a raid on Friday targeting officials of the Korean Medical Association, as authorities step up pressure to end a walkout by trainee doctors protesting against plans to reform the health system.


The raid comes ahead of a mass demonstration in Seoul planned for Sunday by doctors, after the walkout, which began on Feb 20, disrupted major hospitals, forcing some to turn away patients and cancel surgeries and other medical procedures.

“Doctors are enraged by the government’s absurd behavior,” the KMA, which represents private practitioners, said in a statement after the raid on the leaders of its emergency committee.

“The government has clearly shown that doctors in South Korea cannot enjoy freedom.”It denied having encouraged the trainee doctors to resign, saying they had left their posts of their own volition.

Health ministry data showed more than two-thirds of the trainee doctors, or nearly 9,000, had ignored a government deadline to return to work by Thursday or face punishment.