Medical opinions trigger physician’s detentionA court granted the prosecutors’ request to detain a 54-year-old doctor at Severance Hospital who is accused of issuing false medical statements to help Yoon Gil-ja, the ex-wife of a flour mill owner, stay out of prison on health grounds. Yoon had been convicted of arranging for her nephew to kill a 22-year-old female university student in 2002.
The Korea JoongAng Daily earlier reported that the doctor had been detained on Friday; prosecutors requested the detention warrant that day.
The Seoul Western District Court said on Tuesday there was evidence that the physician, identified until now only by his surname, Park, had received $10,000 in 2007 for his several letters on Yoon’s behalf. The same court issued a pretrial detention warrant naming Ryoo Won-gi, the president of Youngnam Flour Mills Company, who allegedly made the payment to the doctor.
“The two might attempt to destroy evidence,” Judge Oh Seong-woo said as justification for ordering pretrial detention.
Yoon was convicted of the contract killing of the female student, who Yoon believed was involved in a romantic relationship with her son-in-law. She gave her nephew 175 million won ($159,682) for the murder, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004. Family members of the murdered woman and Yoon’s son-in-law both denied that the two were romantically involved. The investigation into the doctor’s interventions began when the victim’s father began a campaign and filed a lawsuit last April to force Yoon’s incarceration.
Park’s medical opinions said the woman’s breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes required hospitalization, citing symptoms that other doctors at the medical center said were not severe enough to delay her incarceration. Accepting Park’s several opinions, a judge allowed Yoon to be moved from prison to a hospital, where she remained for four years, after which she was treated as an outpatient for two years. She was re-imprisoned in May.
BY MIN KYUNG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]