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Prison guard charged under antigraft law kills himself

Dec 06,2017
A 50-year-old prison guard was found dead, hanging from a noose on Monday in a nearby gym at Uijeongbu Prison in Gyeonggi, by a fellow prison guard at 7:30 p.m. who went to exercise after work.

The deceased guard was under investigation for violating the antigraft law by accepting 2 million won ($1,991) from an acquaintance in March.

Uijeongbu Police speculate that the officer committed suicide, as they found a suicide note stating that he regretted his actions and was distressed due to the investigation.

Under the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, public officials, including prison guards, are proscribed from accepting “more than one million won at a time or three million won in a fiscal year from the same person, regardless of the relationship between such offer and his or her duties.”

The deceased officer met the acquaintance while playing badminton and was introduced to the acquaintance’s friend.

He was then introduced to an arcade owner by the friend. After helping the owner with his business, the guard received 2 million won from the acquaintance for his support.

The guard also borrowed 10 million won from the acquaintance, but was only able to pay back 5 million of it.

When he did not repay the remaining amount, the acquaintance reported him to the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) for breaking the antigraft law.

After carrying out their inspection, the BAI charged the guard last month for violating the antigraft act and sent his case to prosecutors, while notifying the Minister of Justice to take disciplinary action.

“Some public officials are unaware or are confused by the strict regulations under the antigraft law,” said Sim Hak-moo, a lawyer affiliated with the case, “so there have been several cases where public officials end up unintentionally breaking the law.”

The antigraft law has been in effect since Sept. 28, 2016, and is also known as the Kim Young-ran Act, after the former chief of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission who wrote its initial draft.

Police have not found any external wounds and are still investigating the details of the case.

The officer’s remains have been sent to the National Forensic Service for an autopsy.

BY JEON ICK-JIN, LAURA SONG [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]


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