[EDITORIALS]Mr. Choi's Houdini act

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[EDITORIALS]Mr. Choi's Houdini act

Choi Seong-gyu, a senior police officer, disappeared after he entered the United States on Saturday. A week ago, he fled to Hong Kong as the scandal involving President Kim Dae-jung's third son, Hong-gul, surfaced.

There are many mysteries regarding Mr. Choi's conduct over the last 10 days. He was the chief of special investigations of the National Police Agency who had to report directly to the Blue House. He met a legal secretary of the Blue House on April 11. The next night he had a late meeting with Choi Gyu-seon to discuss ways out of the scandal. At the meeting, he allegedly told Choi Gyu-seon, "I will escape abroad. You should do the same even if you have to smuggle yourself." In fact, he left for Hong Kong last Sunday. He went to Hong Kong without a bit of hindrance by the police, even after his late- night meeting with Mr. Choi had been reported. Then he swiftly moved from Hong Kong to Indonesia to Japan to the United States when police officers went to Indonesia to capture him Thursday. He arrived in New York when Choi Gyu-seon's detention warrant was issued Saturday. None of this seems like coincidences, but rather, coordinated movements.

His entry into New York is also inexplicable. The U.S. authorities issued him and his group permission to stay for six months after an extraordinary review session, and arranged a special exit for them to slip away from Korean officials waiting at the airport. The U.S. authorites said they have no reason not to allow him to enter the United States since his detention warrant has not yet been issued and he is not committing a crime at the time. We don't think his escape was luck; he must have had some help from the government. If the government wants to clear up such suspicions, it should do its best to get Mr. Choi deported to Seoul, just as it's doing with Lee Suk-hee, a former deputy commmissioner of the National Tax Service.
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