Rep. Kang charged with libel and false accusations

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Rep. Kang charged with libel and false accusations

The Seoul Western District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted Rep.Kang Yong-seok, 41, a lawmaker expelled from the ruling Grand National Party, without physical detention on charges of insult, libel, false accusation and violation of the law on telecommunication networks and information protection.

“According to our investigation, we confirmed that Kang did make [lewd] comments to students,” said an official of the prosecutors’ office.

“We [also] charged him with false accusation and libel against a JoongAng Ilbo reporter.”

A JoongAng Ilbo reporter broke the story about the lewd remarks made by Kang in a meeting with 20 students from Yonsei University in July. Kang allegedly told a female participant that “You should give everything (including yourself) to become an anchorwoman,” according to the report.

He also reportedly said, “I think students from some privileged female universities can not dedicate themselves to doing this because of their pride.”

Kang denied the report and filed a libel suit against the reporter. The JoongAng Ilbo sued Kang on charges of defaming the newspaper and the reporter.

Seventy-eight anchorwomen submitted a letter of complaint to the prosecutors’ office, claiming that Kang insulted them as well.

The GNP deprived Kang of his party membership Friday, criticizing “his unethical acts.” It was the first time that the GNP expelled a party member.

“We also found out he made additional remarks such as ‘The last weapon of female lobbyist is her own body,’ ” the official said.

Prosecutors said they referred to previous cases in foreign countries because they could not decide whether Kang’s remark represented an insult against a specific occupation, such as female newscasters. “We found similar precedents in Germany and in Japan.” Prosecutors said the reporter for JoongAngIlbo had not engaged in any wrongdoing.


By Jeong Seon-eon [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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