S Korea rights watchdog to review `sound cannon` use at G20

Police plan to use "sound cannons" to disperse rowdy protesters during G20.

Updated: Oct 05, 2010, 14:21 PM IST

Seoul: South Korea`s human rights watchdog said on Tuesday it would investigate police plans to use "sound cannons" to disperse rowdy protesters during next month`s G20 summit in Seoul.

Police have said they plan to use a Long Range Acoustic Device or sound cannon that can emit up to 152 decibels.

Critics say prolonged exposure to the noise could cause hearing loss, and their use could infringe the right to stage protests.

"We are reviewing whether there are reasonable grounds to use sound cannons," a spokeswoman for the National Human Rights Commission said, adding that police have been asked to submit reports.

The commission would consider whether they are harmful as part of the process, she said.

It is the first time that South Korean police have announced plans to use the devices.

They were employed for the G20 Pittsburgh summit last year but a Canadian court restricted their use before the Toronto summit in June.

Last month, 81 South Korean labour and civic groups launched an umbrella protest organisation to stage a wave of demonstrations against the summit.

PTI