Sketchy investigationThe prosecutors who are investigating the Yongsan incident have expanded the scope of their investigation to see whether a private group of hired muscles was involved in the clash. The investigation was triggered because on Jan. 19, the day before the incident, TV stations broadcast footage of a hired worker from a private “service company” training a water cannon at protesters.
In the early stages of the investigation, prosecutors hadn’t paid much attention to the possibility that the police hired a private service at Yongsan. But the issue has surfaced and investigators have now postponed announcing the results of their investigation.
We wonder whether there is a problem with the prosecutors’ attitude toward the investigation. We say once again that only a thorough investigation will suffice if we are to calm the chaos that the Yongsan incident had ignited.
After the scene was broadcast, the prosecutors’ office said it was unable to identify the private company worker who allegedly fired the water cannon. Nevertheless, the prosecutors should have tried harder to find the culprit.
A person involved in the investigation said the prosecutors were not present when the incident took place, so the evidence is sketchy.
But investigating is a process of tracking down the smallest possible clues. One would suppose that an inquiry into the cause of a fire that claimed six lives would require following up every lead. It seems strange that prosecutors missed an important part of the story: that someone employed by a private firm hired to help quell the storm at Yongsan was filmed wielding a water cannon.
The prosecutors have only themselves to blame when people accuse them of having neglected their duty because they blindly trusted what the police said.
Make no mistake, the Yongsan tragedy shocked the country, but politicians can’t wait to turn it into a political issue, it seems. If the neutrality of the investigation is suspect, the police and prosecutors will lose the people’s trust.
We urge the prosecutors to work harder to find out exactly what happened in Yongsan and to what degree, if any, the police and a private firm colluded in dealing with the protesters.
When the prosecutors’ investigation earns trust from the people, the public’s rage will calm down and similar tragedies will be prevented.