[EDITORIALS]A masterly travel agent

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[EDITORIALS]A masterly travel agent

We are baffled about the entry into the United States made by Choi Seong-gyu, superintendent of the National Police Agency. Was there an invisible hand that helped him? He arrived in New York seven days after leaving Seoul, following stops in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong again. That seems like an itinerary requiring sophisticated coordination. Furthermore, Mr. Choi, under protection from the American side, managed to slip away from Korean officials and reporters waiting for him at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

That is why we suspected, briefly, that there had been a deal behind the scenes between the Korean and U. S. governments. But it turned out that U.S. authorities simply abided by ordinary immigration procedures. On Friday, U.S. authorities set Mr. Choi aside for a special review at the request of Korean officials when he arrived at the New York airport. The U.S. immigration office even queried the U.S. Embassy in Seoul for information when it was interviewing Mr. Choi. As a result, U.S. officials found that he was not wanted by Interpol and that no detention warrant had been issued for him. Thus, no charges were brought against him. That is why U. S. officials allowed him to enter the United States and didn't arrange a meeting for him with Korean diplomats. Fortunately, U.S. authorities expressed their willingness to cooperate with Korea if Korean officials informed them of his crimes.

If the government had revoked Mr. Choi's passport, he could not have freely traveled across several countries without any problems. It seems astonishingly unprofessional that the National Police Agency asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade only to find his whereabouts and persuade him to come back to Seoul voluntarily. Thus, we cannot help but suspect the police agency of assisting him through a series of errors, errors in disguise.

The sooner the government officially asks U.S. authorities to hand him over the better. Doing so would be the only way to help erase distrust and misunderstanding that the people have for the government. Korean law enforcement authorities should hurry to specifically identify Mr. Choi's crimes. Based on investigative results, the Foreign Affairs Ministry should start talking to the U.S. authorities to get Mr. Choi deported from the United States.
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