[EDITORIALS]Befriending a murderer

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[EDITORIALS]Befriending a murderer

It is outrageous that a murderer-turned-entrepreneur met with the nation's chief executive on two occasions. In our corporate context, that the president personally encouraged an entrepreneur has more than just promotional meaning. A presidential handshake or a slap on the back enhances the company's image and gives it public trust.

But Yoon Tae-shik, chairman of Pass 21 and murderer of his wife, Susie Kim, in 1987, met with President Kim Dae-jung on Jan. 24 in a government event for the president to meet the heads of start-up companies. Mr. Yoon was also invited in May to the Blue House for a dinner held in honor of the president of Nicaragua. Photos of the president meeting Mr. Yoon appeared in the JoongAng Ilbo's Tuesday edition.

How could the Blue House staff of bodyguards and the police have been so negligent as to put the president in such a spot? As for the National Intelligence Service, which for years had covered up Mr. Yoon's crime, did they know that the president met Mr. Yoon? And if they did not know, that would constitute a bigger problem. The Blue House's feeble explanation is that only one or two top officials of the National Intelligence Service knew Mr. Yoon was a killer. If indeed, there was a problem with the presidential security, it is time to call into account those responsible and revamp the system.

Perhaps they were not aware of Mr. Yoon's crimes. But five days after the event in January, the police restarted an internal investigation into the Susie Kim case. And long before the May dinner at the Blue House, the head of the anti-communist bureau of the National Intelligence Service and the head of the National Police Commission were planning another cover-up. Thus, some members of the presidential security service and the police might have known that Mr. Yoon was the murderer of his wife but still allowed him to meet the president in May at the Blue House dinner. They should be held accountable.

The Blue House should consider the meaning of the photo of the president standing next to a murderer. This is an opportunity to determine if the National Intelligence Service and the police reported all that they knew of Mr. Yoon and how the president's security staff responded to the report.
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