Anonymous Chinese hackers angered by South Korea allowing the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system have hacked the website of the retail giant Lotte Group in China. The website, www.lotte.cn, has remained inaccessible since late Tuesday afternoon.
A Lotte official said the hackers planted a virus planted and that the attack is the latest backlash Lotte has faced in China after South Korea’s defense ministry granted the U.S. permission to place the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery on Korean soil.
Yonhap reports that on Sunday about 10 Chinese protestors held a rally in front of Lotte Mart in Jilin province in northeast China in protest of Lotte’s land swap for the U.S. missile defense system.
The protesters held a red placard that read, “Lotte issued a declaration of war against China and Lotte should leave China right now if it supports” the U.S. missile defense system.
“Chinese consumers should become the main force in teaching Seoul a lesson, punishing the nation through the power of the market,” China’s Global Times said in an editorial on Wednesday.
Lotte, the fifth-largest family-run conglomerate in South Korea, is the one with the highest exposure to China. It first tapped the world’s second-largest economy in 1994, and now has a combined workforce of about 20,000 in 24 subsidiaries raking in some 3 trillion won (US$2.64 billion) in annual sales, according to the group’s data.