The price of justiceThe police have been lax in investigating the case of Kim Seung-youn, the chairman of Hanhwa Group, who was allegedly involved in a fight at a luxurious bar. This reveals, once again, that the police try to avoid pursuing a thorough investigation when people of so-called high class are involved or they try to minimize the seriousness of such cases.
On Mar. 9, the police received a report that a client had beat up some employees at a bar and the culprit was the son of the chairman of Hanhwa Group. The police went to the spot immediately but, without confirming anything, they withdrew.
As the case became known to the public, the police said that officers had learned about it around Mar. 20, but that turned out to be a lie. People living near the bar testified that a police officer asked questions at the bar the day after the incident and he knew that Kim had been at the bar the night before.
Even if what the police say is true, one cannot help but be suspicious that the police tried to cover up the incident because, for one month, their investigation has been carried out in secret. A couple of days after the incident took place, Choi Ki-moon, an advisor to the Hanhwa Group, who used to be the chief of the National Police Agency, called Jang Hee-gon, the chief of the Namdaemun Police Station, which handled the case. That supports people’s suspicions.
The police investigation was not effective or thorough by any standard. After the case was publicized on Monday, Jang said that Kim and his son had gone to the United States so the case would be finalized in late May. However, Kim had already returned home and the son has been attending a college in Korea since early this year as an exchange student.
The son went on a trip to China on Tuesday, but Jang said that the company lied to the police by saying that the son was in Seoul. But later it turned out that the company had reported to the police about the son’s trip. Jang then made an excuse and said it was not reported to the director of the investigation team.
This is why people complain that if you have money you can get away with anything. We cannot believe that the police are independent of powerful men. Many questions remain, including whether Kim was involved in the beating himself. The police need to be honest and disclose whether they tried to bury the case or not. To make good its shoddy investigation, the police must carry out a thorough investigation, to make sure there are no suspicions left. If justice can be bought, society will suffer irreparable harm.