[FOUNTAIN]A room with dark secrets

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[FOUNTAIN]A room with dark secrets

This year, Gu Gwang Bon received the annual Lee Sang Literary Prize for “A Long Day.” The writer gives a conscience to a closed-circuit television camera to narrate the story. Set in a convenience store, the story observes modern society through a camera that has reason and emotion. The “I” in the story is the closed-circuit camera that observes what’s happening inside the convenience store and learns the hidden truth, but cannot take any action. All “I” can do is to stare at the world with disillusioned eyes.
How about looking at the world by giving a conscience to the Special Investigation Room of the Central Investigation Division at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office? It is often referred as the “Room 1113,” or the “VIP Room.”
“After the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office moved from Seosomun to Seocho-dong in 1995, the first guest I welcomed was Seo Seok-jae, the former minister of government administration. He was the one who divulged the allegation that a former president had created a 400 billion won slush fund. On the 11th floor of the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, I have since met former president Roh Tae-woo, former Grand National Party Chairman Lee Hoi-chang, former prosecutor general Shin Seung-nam and Kim Hong-up, former president Kim Dae-jung’s son. Other guests have included the late Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, late SK Group chairman Chey Jong-hyun and Chung Mong-hun, the chairman of Hyundai Asan. Recently, former Daewoo chairman Kim Woo-choong stayed over a month.”
The 850-square-foot room is covered with dark gray carpet and has a shower and toilet as well as a bed. I have encountered countless political figures, high government officials and businessmen. Glancing at the iron-barred window covered with a dark shade, visitors would protest or cry tears of remorse. I wanted to close my eyes as I learned of the paradox of the people who stood at the center of events that shook the country. However, I always had to handle the situation, then throw them out. My attempt to get away from the meaninglessly repeated history of corruption was frustrated by the stern realities, and I have to continue to reveal the dark secrets in the name of history and justice.”
Regarding the Hyundai Motor’s slush fund and bribery allegation, Chairman Chung Mong-koo will be questioned by the prosecutors. Like his father, he will make a fateful encounter with the Special Investigation Room. Room 1113 remains silent, harboring a dark portrait of the Republic of Korea.


by Park Jai-hyun

The writer is a deputy city news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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