Tae-sun Bae is the Executive Director of the Organisation & Collective Action Department of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU, Minju Nochng). KCTU is a network representing all the independent trade unions in South Korea. It works to protect labour rights and advocates for better labour standards.
In early 2015, under the administration of president Park Geun-hye, KCTU started leading the struggle against corruption. It organised several mass protests and general strikes against a proposed labour reform, which was unilaterally drafted by the government without consulting the trade unions.
On 14 November 2015, ahead of a rally organised by KCTU against proposed labour law reforms in Seoul, the police mobilised around 20,000 officers. The police fired water cannons and tear gas at peaceful marchers. During the rally one protester, Mr. Baek Nam-gi, was hit with a water cannon. After around 300 days in coma, on 25 September 2015 he died in the hospital. Instead of launching an investigation into the police conduct, the government summoned around 500 KCTU members and 20 of them were detained KCTU's president, human rights defender Sang Gyun Han, was arrested on 10 December 2015 and remains in detention.
Tae-sun Bae was arrested on 11 January 2016 and indicted on 5 February 2016 on charges of “Special Obstruction of Public Duty Injuring Public Officials”, “Special Destruction of Public Goods”, “Special Obstruction of Public Duty”, and “Obstruction of General Traffic”. Prosecutors asked for a six-year prison sentence. She was sentenced to 3 year jail term at the first instance court and 1.5 years at the appellate court. She was released on 12 July 2017.