[EDITORIALS]Draft case limps to an end

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[EDITORIALS]Draft case limps to an end

As the prosecution inquiry into alleged draft-dodging by the son of the Grand National Party's presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang, winds down, the credibility of the tapes submitted by Kim Dae-eop, a whistleblower, is fast eroding. The first copy of a tape Mr. Kim put forth as evidence of draft-dodging was found to be indecipherable. The second copy of the tape could be read but may have been tampered with. The tampering would allow prosecutors to charge Mr. Kim with a criminal offense.

Tampering with evidence is a new turn in the prosecution's investigation. Prosecutors have not been able to validate Mr. Kim's allegations that the draft registry was fabricated and that secret meetings were held to exempt Mr. Lee's son. These developments turn the question into ones about Mr. Kim and the credibility of his charges.

Not that his charges were very believable to begin with. He had a track record of petty crime and abnormal behavior. The way he conducted himself with the prosecution and rumors of links to the Millennium Democratic Party were suspect. He also turned his sights on Mr. Lee's second son when it seemed that the prosecution investigation into Mr. Lee's first son was about to end.

As things stand now, it looks as if the prosecution was indulging a liar. It is a shame both personally and for the country that the nation's prosecutors can be manipulated like that. Prosecutors should look into the tampering suspicions. The grand sweep of Mr. Kim's playing field suggests that there may well have been patrons and wirepullers backing him. This investigation should be separate from the draft-dodging case.

Mr. Kim is mocking the public as he asserts now that he will not cooperate with a "biased" prosecution. Prosecutors should no longer be led around by the nose by Mr. Kim, and they do not have any time to waste. The prosecutors should not waste their energy in internal politics over how to wrap up or begin a new investigation into draft-dodging or into Mr. Kim. The larger the political ramifications of a case, the stricter the prosecution should be in applying the law in pursuing it.
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