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Sex party contractor arrested for bribery, rape

May 24,2019
A key suspect in one of Korea’s biggest sex scandals was arrested Wednesday evening on charges of rape and bribery.

Yun Jung-cheon, a 58 year-old construction contractor, faces the charges in relation to a series of alleged sex parties he organized at a private villa in Wonju, Gangwon, to which he invited well-known figures like former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui.

Kim, who held the No. 2 post at the Justice Ministry for only six days in 2013, was arrested last week for receiving sexual favors and bribes worth around 130 million won ($109,300) from 2006 to 2008, of which around 30 million won are believed to have come from Yun. Specifically, prosecutors believe Yun gave Kim around 5 million won after Kim was promoted to a senior prosecutor in 2007 and an additional 20 million won on several other occasions.

The Seoul Central District Court, presided over by Judge Myung Jae-kwon, ruled at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday to grant a warrant against Yun on the basis of the seriousness of the criminal charges he faces and the likelihood that he would tamper with evidence.

This marks the second time the businessman has been placed under detention for allegations related to the scandal, after he was briefly held behind bars in July 2013.

Prosecutors at the time, however, concluded that a video obtained by police from one of Yun’s sex parties was too blurry to prove Kim was in it, and in November that year dropped all charges on both Yun and Kim. A second investigation in 2014 also failed to charge the suspects.

Key to this newest prosecutorial investigation into Yun and Kim was the testimony of a woman surnamed Lee, who claimed for years that she was raped at multiple times by both men, as well as by other figures at Yun’s behest. Lee said a total of 30 women - including university students - were hired by Yun to provide sexual favors to his guests, and that drugs like methamphetamine were used at the parties.

Of the many times Lee claimed she was raped by Yun and Kim, prosecutors this time were able to find evidence on one particular case from November 2007. After analyzing a photograph depicting sexual intercourse between Lee and two men from the time, prosecutors concluded Kim and Yun were the figures in question and added a rape charge against both suspects.

One issue investigators faced was the 10-year statute of limitations for the rape charge, which had already expired for the case. But Lee presented medical records that showed she was diagnosed with depression in 2008, which allowed prosecutors to apply a 15-year statute of limitations based on an amendment to the law that applies to all cases after December 2007.

Prosecutors last month tried to obtain an arrest warrant for Yun on separate aggravated fraud and influence-peddling charges, but the court turned the request down. Their second attempt on Wednesday focused on the rape and bribery charge, the second of which was already acknowledged by the court that granted Kim’s arrest last week.

While Yun and Kim’s arrests are likely to add momentum to the investigation and eventually yield indictments, both figures continue to deny all allegations set against them. Yun, however, is said to have partly admitted to giving bribes to Kim in recent interrogations by prosecutors.

The probe could also grow to include investigations into other notable guests at Yun’s parties, including a prominent doctor and businessmen who were both listed on Yun’s arrest warrant. These figures, as well as a handful of former figures like bureaucrats and politicians, are believed to have frequented Yun’s villa in Wonju.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK, KIM KI-JEONG [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]