[EDITORIALS]Another Scandal to Ferret Out

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[EDITORIALS]Another Scandal to Ferret Out

Chung Sung-hong, a National Intelligence Service official who resigned Friday over his alleged involvement in the Chin Seung-hyun financial scandal, is talking about what could be an astonishing case of abuse of authority. Claiming that he has known Representative Kim Hong-il, the eldest son of President Kim Dae-jung, for a long time, Mr. Chung said he begged Mr. Kim, to no avail, not to consort with gangsters when Mr. Kim vacationed with them at Jeju in 1998.

Mr. Chung is also alleged to have worked as Mr. Chin's lobbyist in the political world. Both ruling and opposition politicians are reportedly holding their breath to see if Mr. Chung will name politicians' names as recipients of bribes.

Mr. Chung's remark could rekindle allegations that gangsters wielded influence since the beginning of this administration. Senior administration officials were humiliated when the Lee Yong-ho scandal broke out earlier this year because gangsters were found working in cahoots with prosecutors.

Now there are repeated allegations that President Kim Dae-jung's eldest son has suspicious connections with organized crime.

Representative Kim has flatly denied Mr. Chung's accusations, saying he rebuffed Mr. Chung's approaches, and dismisses him as a cornered man looking for a way out of his disgrace. But the suspicions linger on.

Mr. Kim defended his right to meet his constituents and vacation where he chooses. But Koreans tend to demand higher moral standards of the president's son because of the problems that other presidents' sons have been involved in.

As for naming names, the prosecutors should take the lead. The issue needs to be investigated thoroughly to get to the bottom of the Chin Seung-hyun scandal.

Mr. Chung rose rapidly in the ranks of the National Intelligence Service since the beginning of this administration.

Mr. Chung dined with a young start-up businessman and took 40 million won ($31,000) from him. He then was fired, but claimed without remorse that he was a victim of a power play. How are we to interpret his behavior? We are concerned about the discipline of our intelligence officers.

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