Arrest warrant issued as Dangjin governor flees

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Arrest warrant issued as Dangjin governor flees

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An arrest warrant issued Monday night against the Dangjin County governor after he attempted to flee the country with a forged passport as a corruption probe exploded.

After scheduling a news conference to deny the charges, Min Jong-kee tried twice within one hour to board a plane to China on Saturday, according to reports.

On Thursday, the Board of Audit and Inspection asked prosecutors in the Seosan branch of the Daejeon District Court to investigate whether Min, the 59-year-old head of the Dangjin county government in South Chungcheong province, received a house worth 300 million won ($271,665) from a builder in return for awarding multi-million-won construction projects.

The board announced its charges the next day and Min scheduled a news conference for Saturday, but he never appeared. Instead, prosecutors and airport officials said he tried to catch a plane to Qingdao from Incheon International Airport at about 11:30 a.m., but his passport raised suspicions because it looked as a new photo had been pasted in it. A female airport worker refused to let Min board, but did not notify police and he allegedly just walked away, leaving the forged passport behind.

At 12:30 Saturday, Min reportedly made another attempt to flee the country, this time using his own passport. Because Min’s name had been placed on a travel ban on Friday, when the charges were announced, immigration officials refused to let him board, but could not arrest him because a warrant had not been issued, reports said.

Min has not been seen since. His home and office were raided on Sunday, and on Monday his name was put on the wanted list for allegedly using a forged passport and an arrest warrant issued on charges of bribe-taking.

Investigators have spoken to Min’s family and friends, and prosecutors have urged them to contact him and persuade him to surrender himself voluntarily.

Sources have said the audit board found that Min had awarded seven construction projects, worth 10 billion won, to the builder from 2005 to 2008 in return for the bribes. In addition to Min, 10 others are being investigated by the prosecution after the audit board’s report.

Min was elected governor of Dangjin County in June 2004 as the candidate of the Uri Party, now the Democratic Party, through a by-election. In May 2006, he was reelected, but left the party in March 2008. In January of 2010, he joined the Grand National Party and won the candidacy under the ruling party’s ticket for the upcoming June election.

The Grand National Party canceled its decision on Friday, shortly after the audit board made public the corruption accusations.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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인천공항 당진군수 미스터리


‘수억원대 별장을 뇌물로 받고 감사원에 적발, 위조여권으로 인천공항 출국 시도, 출국 좌절.’

27일 공문서 위조 혐의로 전국에 지명수배된 충남 당진의 민종기(사진) 군수 얘기다. 그는 출국이 좌절된 후 유유히 공항을 빠져 나와 종적을 감췄다. 온갖 비리 혐의를 받고 있는 그가 어떻게 그렇게 간단하게 공항을 빠져나올 수 있었을까.

우선 그는 감사원이 3개 시장·군수의 비리에 대한 감찰활동을 발표하면서 세간에 이름이 알려진 인물이다. 감사원은 22일 민 군수가 2005~2008년까지 C건설사에 관급 공사 7건을 몰아주고 3억원 상당의 별장을 뇌물로 받았다고 발표했다. 또 여직원에게 3억3000만원짜리 아파트를 사주고 10억원 이상의 비자금을 관리했다고 밝혔다. 감사원은 민 군수를 비롯한 3명의 시장·군수에 대한 감찰 활동을 검찰에 넘기고 수사 의뢰했다. 이에 대해 민 군수 측은 펄쩍 뛰었다. 감사원 발표는 입증된 것이 없다는 것이었다. 그는 “2~3일 내로 기자회견에서 입장을 밝히겠다”는 말도 했다. 그러나 그는 돌연 24일 오전 인천공항에 나타났다. 중국 칭다오(靑島)로 출국하기 위해서였다. 오전 11시30분쯤 일이다. 그는 공항 3층의 자동출입국심사등록센터에 손모씨의 여권을 들고 나타났다. 위조여권이었다. 그러나 자동출입국심사등록센터 내의 여 심사관 두 명이 “여권에 붙은 사진이 이상하다”며 감시과에 정밀감식을 의뢰하는 전화를 했다. 그사이 그는 여권을 현장에 놔둔 채 도주했다. 누가 봐도 범죄 혐의자로 생각할 수 있는 정황이었다. 그러나 심사관들은 이 같은 사실을 공항 내 경찰에 알리지 않았다. 이에 대해 출입국관리사무소 측은 “사무실 구조상 여직원이 쉽게 쫓아갈 수 없었고, 위조여권 주인공이 민 군수인지 몰랐고, 위조 여부를 확인하던 중 달아난 상황이어서 경찰을 부를 수 없었다”고 해명했다.

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