A Korean blogger who predicted the fall of Lehman Brothers has been arrested by the government.
Among governments struggling to contain the global financial crisis, South Korea set a rare and controversial example over the weekend by arresting a popular blogger who was accused of undermining the financial markets but worshipped by many Koreans as an online guru.
But when some of his predictions on the markets proved right, he gained a huge following among South Koreans fretting over an uncertain economic future....
For months, both the media and the authorities have scrambled to identify Minerva, who has uploaded more than 100 anonymous postings in Daum, the country's second-largest Web portal. He achieved a prophet's status after he predicted the collapse of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, the crash of the Korean currency and the effects of the toxic U.S. mortgage crisis eventually engulfing South Korea.
Newspapers reported his predictions. The government scrambled to dispute his claims. Governing party lawmakers called for his arrest while financial market analysts admitted to avidly following his coverage. His commentaries typically attracted 100,000 viewers per posting....
Park Dae Sung's arrest on Saturday on charges of spreading false online information with a harmful intent - a crime punishable by up to five years in prison - came as the South Korean government was escalating its efforts to fight the fallout of the global financial turmoil.
As Robin Hanson comments, "Does anyone think Park would have been jailed for a mistaken optimistic claim, or that government officials will be jailed for making false claims?"
[via Overcoming Bias]