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Get to the bottom of the case

Aug 02,2018
Kim Kyoung-soo, governor of South Gyeongsang province, sought advice on reforming the chaebol, Korea’s family-owned conglomerates, from Kim Dong-won, a blogger using the ID Druking, who is at the center of a special probe on fake news and manipulation of online opinion.

According to digital evidence secured by a special investigation team, Kim, who was the spokesman for Moon Jae-in during his presidential campaign last year, asked the blogger if he could package popular ideas for chaebol reforms before Moon announced his plans on the theme in the following week. The blogger answered that he would prepare at least a list by the next day and visit him. Five days later, Moon made a speech to argue how disbanding the chaebols would be a path toward the genuine market economy at the National Assembly. What he said that day became his campaign platform.

How much of what the blogger suggested was reflected in Moon’s agenda cannot be known. But texts on the encrypted messenger platform raise serious questions about the relationship of Gov. Kim and Druking. It is appalling that an aide to a leading presidential candidate sought advice on policies from an online blogger. Kim has been repeatedly lying about his relationship with the blogger. When the Druking scandal first broke out in April, Kim claimed that his association with him did not go beyond simply expressing gratitude for his support for Moon out of formality. But it turns out that Kim had turned to him regularly. Druking even asked Kim about the online response to Moon’s address to the National Assembly.

The messages strongly suggest Kim could have been deeply involved in the online rigging campaign led by Druking. A witness already said Kim had been in the office to watch the test run of the automated software program designed to increase likes and add comments to online postings.

The special probe must thoroughly investigate the connection. The investigation received a blow after iconic progressive lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan committed suicide after he was found to have received money from an associate of Druking. The ruling party must stop interfering with the special probe. The probe has less than a month left. The team must come up with unarguable results.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 1, Page 30