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Unreliable investigators

Apr 30,2018
Law enforcement authorities have been behaving questionably in their probe of an alleged online campaign by the ruling party to manipulate public opinion during last year’s presidential election.

Police sought a search warrant for records pertaining to the mobile communications and financial transactions of ruling Democratic Party Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo after discovering a connection between Kim, who was an aide to President Moon Jae-in’s campaign, and a suspicious blogger who goes by the online alias Druking. But the police were unable to pursue the search because prosecutors vetoed the request. When they were accused of dilly-dallying on the probe, the police blamed the prosecution. Prosecutors in turn criticized the police for disclosing confidential information about the investigation.

Prosecutors also turned down a police request to search the records of one of Kim’s aides, who is suspected of receiving 5 million won ($4,640) from a group led by Druking. Even after the National Election Commission pointed at the group for their suspicious activities last year, prosecutors hastily closed the case without investigating thoroughly.

There are also questions about how willing the police are to pursue this case. They arrested the blogger on March 21 and disclosed the text messages between him and Kim on April 12, but only sought an arrest warrant for the lawmaker on April 24. The public has accused the police of feigning action.

As the police have been slow to investigate Kim, prosecutors have prevented a further chase. The people are disappointed at the same old sight of law enforcement agencies cringing before the ruling power.

Since the state’s authority can no longer be trusted, this case calls for an independent counsel. A special prosecutor team must also probe into the suspicious acts of the police and prosecution. The Democratic Party must comply because if it continues to resist a special investigation, it is inviting more suspicion from the public.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 27, Page 34