[EDITORIALS]Night Raid Another Dark Moment

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[EDITORIALS]Night Raid Another Dark Moment

In many senses the police search early Monday of the provincial office of the Grand National Party in Jeju province seems to have been an overreaction. Acting on a warrant for search and seizure, the police early Sunday arrested an official from the office who had received a confidential report on President Kim Dae-jung's son. The party office was rushed early Monday in the cover of night as if a surprise attack was called for. The police should have disciplined its members who leaked the report to the party official before taking any other steps.

The search was said to have been carried out to discover how the regional party office got the report, which was prepared by a detective at the intelligence desk of the Jeju Police Precinct, regarding Representative Kim Hong-il's movements in conjunction with the Lee Yong-ho scandal. The police ignored the request made by the head of the party office, who said after he was notified by the police of the search, "Please come to the office tomorrow morning since nobody is in the office." Furthermore the Grand National Party is furious that officials from the provincial party office were not allowed to observe the search on the spot. As a result, the search can be misunderstood as a demonstration of forces or a retaliatory measure against the opposition party, in return for the leakage of sensitive information regarding the president's son.

Also, an attempt is apparently being made to discipline bureaucrats who tend to pay more attention and leak important information to the opposition party at the end of a government's tenure, searching for the political jackpot in case power changes hands.

The Millennium Democratic Party suspects political engineering. They say the Grand National Party used money to induce the detective to produce the report and used it for a political attack on the ruling party. Of course, the police should clear up the suspicion. However, most people want the law enforcement authorities to focus on finding the truth about a series of scandals, including the one involving Lee Yong-ho. We are left with an uncomfortable feeling since there are many signs the police hurried to proceed with this case. The Grand National Party is saying receiving the report hardly constitutes a crime since the report is not classified but personal. The United Liberal Democrats even said unclassified information gathered by the police should be given to opposition parties.

Unless the law enforcement authorities show concretely their will to fully investigate all the scandals, we cannot help but suspect that the search by the police and the Millennium Democratic Party's fuss over the report are only a counterattack over the opposition party's muckraking. The prosecution and the police should not forget that their recent acts could disfigure their public images even worse than it is now.
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