Little progress in Wonju scandal

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Little progress in Wonju scandal


The police raid a 51-year-old contractor surnamed Yoon’s villa in Wonju, Gangwon on March 31 for offering sexual entertainment to high-ranking government officials and heads of public institutions. The police failed to make any real progress more than a month after they launched an official investigation into the case. [NEWSIS]

It has been a month since police officially launched an investigation into a 51-year-old contractor surnamed Yoon, who is suspected of offering sexual entertainment to influential people, including high-ranking government officials, at his villa in Wonju, Gangwon.

But the police investigating the case have not summoned or probed people who are suspected of being involved in the scandal, though they found a two-minute sex video file, which the police stated is “crucial evidence to prove Yoon’s allegations.”

The JoongAng Ilbo has reconstructed the police’s one-month investigation history.

Preliminary investigation

In March 18, a text message, which read, “An informal briefing with the investigation planning officer over the subcontractor’s irregularities at his office at 10 a.m.,” was sent to reporters at the National Police Agency (NPA).

Lee Se-min, the investigation planning officer, was soon surrounded by dozens of reporters.

“We officially launched a preliminary investigation over Yoon’s allegations that some media recently reported,” he said.

Reporters in the room bustled. It is very rare that the police tell reporters about a preliminary investigation.

“We haven’t found any actual evidence of the sex bribes, but we can say that we would investigate if it is something we have to do,” Lee said, when a reporter asked whether the police are investigating the sex bribes along with Yoon’s other irregularities.

Two-minute sex video

Police acted quickly. They formed a special investigation team composed of 22 officials from the Crime Intelligence Bureau and Special Investigation Bureau.

Several people, including a 51-year-old self-employed woman surnamed Kwon, who accused Yoon of extortion and rape last year, as well as women who participated in the sex party, were questioned.

Some high-ranking government officials and people from public institutions were named.

On March 20, one informant handed over a video file to an investigator during questioning.

He said that it is a sex video file that shows a high-ranking government official singing a song while having sex with a woman wearing a black dress.

A woman in her 30s, whom the police believed was at the sex party, testified “I had sex at the party with the man in the video.”

A day after the police obtained the sex file, some media disclosed that the man in the video is Kim Hak-eui, vice minister of the Ministry of Justice. Kim denied the allegations, but resigned from his post.

The police requested the National Forensic Service (NFS) check whether the man in the video is Kim, as they weren’t able to conclude who the person actually was due to the video’s poor quality.

On March 22, the NFS announced its analysis results of the file, stating that they couldn’t verify who the man in the video was either.

Five days later, the police requested a travel ban from the Justice Ministry of five people, including Kim, but were rejected due to lack of evidence.

A month later

The police couldn’t summon Kim and others thought to be involved in the scandal.

Some officials in the police currently even said that the case is “exaggerated.”

Meanwhile, officials who led the investigation were replaced because they couldn’t produce results in the case.

Lee, the investigation planning officer, was transferred to the Korean National Police University and Kim Hak-bae, chief of the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the NPA, was named chief of the Ulsan Metropolitan Police Agency.

On Wednesday at the NPA, Lee Myung-gyo, chief of the Special Investigation Bureau, answered reporters’ questions.

“We will try our best to wrap this case up as soon as possible,” Lee said, just like he has repeated for the past month like a broken record player.

By Chung Kang-hyun, Kwon Sang-soo []
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