Three UPP aides arrested for fiddling with survey

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Three UPP aides arrested for fiddling with survey

Police yesterday arrested with court-issued warrants three aides to the disgraced former leader of the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party on charges of tampering with a crucial voter survey ahead of April 11 legislative elections.

The arrest came one day after the Seoul Central District Court issued the warrants for the three aides of the former UPP co-chair Lee Jung-hee. Arrest warrants for three other aides were denied.

The UPP and the main opposition Democratic United Party in March reached an agreement to choose single joint candidates for the parliamentary elections based on the results of public surveys asking voters which contenders they favored.

The three in custody are suspected of sending hundreds of mobile phone text messages asking party members to lie about their ages and vote in the telephone survey for Lee who sought a ticket for a legislative seat in Seoul’s Gwanak District, police said. The automated survey calls were made randomly.

The survey was designed to select the candidate for each constituency most likely to win by assessing responses from different age groups. Lee’s aides allegedly attempted to boost her ratings among younger age groups on tips that enough responses from older groups had already been collected. Lee won the single opposition candidacy, defeating her rival from the DUP, but dropped out after revelations about her aides’ actions were made.

Lee, a lawyer-turned-lawmaker, has denied her role in the alleged rigging, saying, “The aides carried out the act all by themselves.”

However, investigators found circumstantial evidence that high-ranking UPP party officials had been involved in the scandal, sources close to the investigation said. Police are also considering summoning Lee for questioning.

The former lawmaker eventually resigned from her leadership post in May, taking responsibility for the party being torn apart by a series of alleged election frauds. Yonhap
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