Lewd remarks solon still protests his innocence

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Lewd remarks solon still protests his innocence

The lawmaker under fire for allegedly making lewd remarks to Yonsei University students at a dinner in mid-July continued to deny he said anything wrong and falsely claimed in a press release Sunday that the Press Arbitration Commission had ordered the JoongAng Ilbo and another paper to publish his side of the story.

The JoongAng Ilbo explained it published former Grand National Party representative Kang Yong-seok’s version of the controversial dinner - regardless of its authenticity - for reasons of fairness and on his request. The article was not published as a correction or clarification.

In the article published yesterday, Kang stated that the dinner had taken place in a “very loud venue, the participants were split up in fours because of the size of the tables and his alleged raunchy comments were ‘not the kind of things he would say.’”

Kang issued a press release Sunday saying that the JoongAng Ilbo reporter who wrote the original article on Kang’s remarks claiming he allegedly told a female student who aspired to be a broadcaster that she’d have to “go all the way” to succeed in the profession did not confirm the story with the student before the story was published. Kang made that assertion in his article yesterday as well.

The JoongAng Ilbo confirmed yesterday that the reporter did confirm the facts with the student.

Kang also wrote that he did not tell the same female student that President Lee Myung-bak had wanted to ask for her telephone number when she visited the Blue House, but couldn’t because his wife was standing next to him. Kang said another male student at the dinner made this remark.

The Seoul Western District Prosecutors’ Office concluded Sunday that Kang made the remarks after interviewing members of the Yonsei debate team at the dinner, half of whom were female. Prosecutors also said yesterday they are planning to summon Kang for questioning.

Members of the National Assembly ethics committee yesterday were bewildered by Kang’s denials and emphasized the need for firm action against the lawmaker in interviews with the JoongAng Ilbo. One member, Sohn Beom-gyu of the Grand National Party stated, “If the reports are true, the punishment should be severe.”

The GNP ejected Kang from the party last month.

“I know that the GNP will not act lightly on this situation,” said another member, Chang Se-hwan of the Democratic Party. “The DP has no choice but to take things in a direction where Kang will be deprived of his seat in Parliament.”

The ethics committee held a first round of meetings yesterday to discuss punishment for Kang.

By Jeong Seon-eon, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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