Busan mob busted for blackmail

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Busan mob busted for blackmail

Three members of Busan’s largest crime syndicate, Chilsung-pa, or Seven Star Mob, were arrested for blackmailing the CEO of a local construction firm and extorting the firm’s real estate property worth 23.3 billion won ($20.7 million) during a two-year period.

The Busan Nambu Police Precinct reported Wednesday it arrested a 60-year-old core member of the gang, surnamed Kim, and two other members on charges of extorting 23.3 billion won worth of land property rights by threatening the 48-year-old CEO of a construction firm, whose is identified by his surname Jung.

The police booked four other gang members on the same charge without physical detention and placed one accomplice now on the run on the wanted list. The police said the gang members, who had a close relationship with Jung for many years, began to blackmail him from Aug. 2010 to June 2012, warning him that they would disclose Jung’s own embezzling of the firm’s money unless he gave the trio property rights held by Jung’s firm. It is reported Jung had embezzled company funds worth 38 billion won, for which he was punished later by the authorities.

The authorities also said they found evidence that Jung paid out 2.1 billion won in bribes to an unspecified number of local government officials to purchase reclaimed lands in Nam District, Busan. The police are now investigating who received the bribes.

The Chilsung-pa, first formed in the 1950s and now led by a 69-year-old boss named Lee Kang-hwan, is known as Busan’s most dominating criminal organization and one of the largest in Korea. The police have yet to find out whether the boss is involved in the blackmail.

By We Sung-wook [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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