Man at hub of prosecutor bribe scandal is re-arrested

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Man at hub of prosecutor bribe scandal is re-arrested

The Busan District Court yesterday decided to re-arrest a local construction worker who alleged last week that he had bribed prosecutors for more than two decades.

The court announced that the man surnamed Jeong will be detained again. Under arrest for fraud and violating the legal representation law since last August, Jeong had been allowed to receive medical treatment from home since September.

Last Friday, minutes before a court hearing on whether he should be re-arrested, Jeong swallowed about 100 unidentified pills in a suicide attempt in his lawyer’s office in Busan. His friends brought him to a hospital, where his stomach was pumped. He is now in normal condition.

Jeong told producers of MBC’s “PD Diary” that he had sought favors from prosecutors by offering them gifts, meals, cash and sex worker services. PD Diary aired a feature last Tuesday based on Jeong’s claims and said 57 active and retired prosecutors in Busan and neighboring regions took bribes from Jeong.

According to the court, Jeong was scheduled to remain free until May 16. But the Busan court ruled yesterday that he was healthy enough to be detained.

Under the law, a court may temporarily release arrested people if they have a serious illness, if a child is born or an immediate family member dies, or on other emergencies.

“He was initially arrested out of fear that he would flee,” the court said. “But he attempted suicide and there is a likelihood that he would keep trying to evade law enforcement.”

In the fallout from Jeong’s allegations, Han Seung-cheol, one of two senior prosecutors identified in the PD Diary, has been stripped of his position as chief inspector at the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office.

The Ministry of Justice announced Sunday that Han, 46, will work as a researcher at the Legal Research and Training Institute, which trains those who have passed their bar exam.

The ministry has often sent senior prosecutors under bribery allegations to the institute as a kind of exile.

Another senior prosecutor alleged to have taken bribes, Park Ki-joon, offered his resignation last Friday.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

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