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Speaking truth to power

May 23,2018
A bill enabling the launch of an independent counsel investigation on the so-called Druking case passed the National Assembly. The case involves a power blogger accused of spearheading an online campaign to sway public opinion in favor of presidential candidate Moon Jae-in.

If the appointment procedure goes well, a team will be ready for investigation next month. The special counsel was called for due to unreliable and questionable probes by the police and prosecution of the blogger, Kim Dong-won, and his organization, as well as suspicious behavior by the ruling party and political figures. The law enforcement agency and politicians should no longer attempt to interfere with the investigation.

Amid dilly-dallying by law enforcement authorities, the scandal has spilled over to the Blue House. Moon’s personal secretary Song In-bae is accused of having met Druking several times. According to separate investigations by the Blue House, Song met Kim four times from June 2016 to February last year. Song received 1 million won ($921) on two occasions. Song reportedly introduced Druking to Kim Kyoung-soo, a former lawmaker close to Moon. Song assisted Moon throughout the election campaign.

His role in the online campaign must be thoroughly investigated. The police did not question Song’s relationship with Kim. Police Commissioner General Lee Chul-sung claimed the police were not aware of the connection. The police must be lying if they are covering up for Song.

Suspicions are also snowballing about Kim Kyoung-soo. Kim claimed the blogger was lying and accused him of giving endorsement to the use of an illicit program to increase likes on online posts. But other testimonies suggest that he was the one who was lying. Others said the former lawmaker visited their office and handed over an envelope with 1 million won after he watched how the program worked. Police must re-summon Kim and question him thoroughly.

A special counsel probe does not guarantee a better investigation. Out of12 cases where an independent counsel team was formed, only two or three were successful. It is not easy to pursue a criminal investigation against the active ruling power. The Korean Bar Association must recommend the best candidates capable of standing up to pressure from the governing party to get to the bottom of the truth.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 22, Page 26