Police agency official accused of cover-up

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Police agency official accused of cover-up

A National Police Agency official has allegedly tried to cover up a police brutality case under investigation by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

According to the commission, an investigator identified only as “A” dispatched by the police agency allegedly accessed the commission’s internal computer network and stole confidential information on an ongoing police brutality investigation. The investigator then passed on the information to the police agency to prevent the commission from making the case public.

The commission has been investigating the case, which involves an official from Yangcheon District Police who is accused of beating a suspect, since September. The commission said it was planning to make the investigation public, but was blocked by the NPA following the leak.

The commission said it suspected a leak after it received a request from the NPA to not release information to the public. The police told the commission that the case was based only on the suspect’s story and more evidence was needed before the case could be made public, the commission said.

When the commission found evidence that the NPA investigator had accessed the server, it asked the NPA to punish the investigator, but that has not happened, the commission said.

“Leaking confidential data is a violation of the law, and we can’t accept it,” an official of the commission said.

Under the National Human Rights Commission law, officials investigating human rights violations are barred from revealing any information about the investigation to officials, advisers or dispatched officials.

The police have denied the leak, saying that the official must have thought the two agencies were sharing information on the investigation.

“We admit that the official violated the law,” an NPA official said “But we think he thought of [the leak] as cooperation between government agencies. I think he also handed in the investigative report because he wanted to protect his co-worker’s human rights as he would face public criticism if the case was made public.” The police said the official received a warning but is back on duty.

By Kwon Sang-soo, Yonhap [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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