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First lawmaker grilled over ‘fast-track’ bills

Sept 24,2019
The prosecution said Monday it has looked into a lawmaker related to a row between rival political parties over the passage of controversial “fast-track” bills, heralding a full-scale probe into a score of cases involving the parliamentary conflict.

“Rep. Kim Kwan-young of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party underwent an overnight investigation on Sunday,” the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office said.

Kim is the first lawmaker summoned by the prosecution since police transferred all cases to the prosecution early this month.

Earlier, the former Bareunmirae floor leader was accused by the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and civic organizations of having abused his power in making two Bareunmirae members of the Assembly’s Special Committee on Judicial Reform - Reps. Oh Shin-hwan and Kwon Eun-hee - resign from it.

At the end of April, the ruling Democratic Party (DP), in collaboration with minor opposition parties, including Bareunmirae, fast-tracked the bills to set up a special unit under the president to investigate corruption by high-ranking public officials at the judicial reform committee despite strong physical resistance from the LKP. The rival parties lodged a total of 18 complaints, including libel, against each other’s lawmakers after the scuffles.

Police kicked off probes into a total of 121 people, including 109 lawmakers. Only about 30 DP and minor opposition Justice Party legislators complied, and on Sept. 10, police handed the cases to the prosecution.