[EDITORIALS]Tape that proves nothing

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[EDITORIALS]Tape that proves nothing

Kim Dae-eop handed a recording to prosecutors Monday as evidence supporting his accusation that the son of the Grand National Party's presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang, evaded military service. The recording turns out to be absurd. Mr. Kim, it seems, has been playing with the whole country. It is hard to believe that even an ex-felon convicted of fraud, who somehow became part of an investigation team on cases of military service dodging, thought that such a dubious recording would serve any purpose.

The content of the recording aside, the way it was allegedly made is also in question. It is not certain that the recording was actually made on March 4, 1999, as Mr. Kim claims, and there are doubts as to how Mr. Kim could possibly have made such a tape. In a case such as this, when even the original recording would be controversial, Mr. Kim did not hand over the original. He did not even turn in a copy of the original; it is a copy of a copy. Mr. Kim has evidently offered no explanation as to why he cannot produce the original, and retracted his claim that there were four original recorded tapes.

The transcript of the recording is vague and incomprehensible: a code without any key to decipher it. The meaning of a single sentence can be changed completely if one chops it in parts and rearranges them. The original recording would have little chance of being accepted as valid evidence; how much less a copy that has been through several processes of editing and copying?

Mr. Kim had bragged that all allegations would be proven once he revealed the contents of the tape. He said that he hoped that by turning in the recording, he had put all doubts about it to rest. We are impressed, Mr. Kim; yes we are. It is the content and validity of the tape that matters, and neither has been proven satisfactorily so far. It is time for the prosecutors to stop waiting to hear what Mr. Kim says. He must be forced to turn over all the evidence he claims to have, including the original recording. The first thing the prosecutors should do once they get hold of that evidence is to make sure that it is really evidence of something important.

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