Top cop kept in dark on rape case

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Top cop kept in dark on rape case

The country’s top policeman didn’t learn of the rape of a 7-year-old Vietnamese-Korean girl in Seoul until he saw it in the news, a police official told the JoongAng Ilbo.

The source, who refused to be named, said it was one more example of dysfunction and lack of communication within the national police service.

According to the source, “The Dongdaemun police precinct reported the case directly to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency [on Saturday], but the personnel in charge at SMPA judged it to be a minor case and failed to report it to the National Police Agency.”

The Commissioner General of the agency, Kang Hee-rak, learned about the rape the day after it happened by reading a newspaper report and demanded to know why he wasn’t informed sooner, complaining of “problems within the reporting chain,” the source said.

Furthermore, the case was found to have been described as an “attempted rape” by SMPA personnel, after investigations of the Seoul agency and the Dongdaemun precinct were ordered by Kang on Monday.

Kang ordered a reshuffle inside the SMPA on Wednesday.

In another embarrassment for the police, high commanders of the National Police Agency weren’t informed until June 15 of accusations that five Yangcheon police officers tortured suspects, weeks after the National Human Rights Commission started investigating the case, the agency said. The agency didn’t start its own probe until June 17, a day after the story was written up by the media.

The Yangcheon police officers are in custody for allegedly torturing as many as 22 criminal suspects during the past year to force confessions.

In a press conference Monday, former senior superintendent of the Seoul Gangbuk Police precinct, Chae Soo-chang, called for the resignation of Seoul police commissioner Cho Hyun-oh to step down for the lack of communication inside the police network.


By Kang In-sik, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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