[EDITORIALS]Indictment puzzles us all

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[EDITORIALS]Indictment puzzles us all

Astonishment and great remorse has followed the reading of the indictment against Kim Hong-up, President Kim Dae-jung's second son, which shows that old customs are still with us. Mr. Kim's indictment says the president's son had received a considerable amount of money from the head of the National Intelligence Service and monthly allowances on top of a one-time "service fee" from certain conglomerates.

The part that stated Mr. Kim had hidden 1 billion won ($800,000) on his apartment balcony and piled furniture on top of the money almost sounds like a comedy. It is hard to imagine what explanation Mr. Kim, who claims that he has "not received a penny of dishonest money," will come up with for the pile of hidden money.

Mr. Kim faces seven charges. The charges include receiving bribes, the total amount being 2.6 billion won, and receiving 580 million won from businesses for his "service." The amount of money listed in the indictment is twice the amount mentioned when he was detained, showing how determined the prosecutors were in this investigation.

The investigation, however, is incomplete. There should be a thorough follow-up on the statement by the heads of the National Intelligence Service that they gave money to Mr. Kim on a regular basis. The security chief claimed that the money had merely been tokens of acquaintance, but what reason is there for the heads of the National Intelligence Service to give millions of won to the president's son? Suspicions about the nature of the money have deepened. The amount uncovered so far amounts to a little more than 30 million won ($24,000). The total amount, its purpose and any related illegalities should be clarified.

The lessons learned during this investigation about handling Blue House pressure and surviving internal strife should have brought the prosecutors' office one step closer to achieving complete independence.

By ignoring the demands of the Blue House and of other influential entities during this investigation, the prosecutors have set an example for legal cases involving politics. Also, let this be an opportunity to remember that the almost too natural practice of high-ranking prosecutors handing out information definitely should be terminated.
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