More details uncovered in murder case

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More details uncovered in murder case

Authorities have uncovered new information into the murder case involving Seoul Metropolitan Councilman Kim Hyung-sik, that alleges that he abetted in the murder of a 67-year-old man, surnamed Song, after receiving bribes from the victim.

Kim, a former member of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), has been detained since Sunday.

In an earlier probe, investigators said that the two men were in a debtor-creditor relationship and suspected that Kim had asked a friend to kill Song to evade paying back his debt upon Song’s insistence.

Kim’s friend, identified only by his family name Paeng, testified that he agreed to the murder in exchange for a debt he owed to Kim to be canceled.

However, in a recent interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, Paeng’s wife alleged that Song gave Kim 520 million won ($512,720), hoping that the Seoul Metropolitan councilman would designate land Song owned as a business district. “Song didn’t lend him money, but rather gave it to the councilman as a bribe,” said Paeng’s wife, who refused to be named.

As for questions surrounding the relationship between her husband and the councilman, she replied: “My husband really trusted and counted on Kim. This is partly because Kim was always willing to help us financially. But he took advantage of my husband’s trust.”

Paeng fled to China after killing Song on March 3, in Gangseo District, western Seoul. When Chinese police caught up with him, he appealed for help from the councilman, according to police.

The disgraced legislator apparently advised him to commit suicide, arguing that if he returned home and was arrested, Kim’s life would be ruined.

“I think Kim kept trying to pressure my husband not to reveal [Kim] was actually involved in the case,” she added.

Kim was reelected to the Seoul Metropolitan Council in the June 4 polls as Paeng was being investigated for the killing.

Police said this week that Kim allegedly handed over a stun gun and a hatchet, which his accomplice used to incapacitate the victim and then kill him. He currently faces possible graft and murder charges.

The investigators are also looking into whether Kim’s brother, a prosecutor, attempted to swing the investigation in Kim’s favor.

BY PARK EUN-JEE, GOO HYE-JIN [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]



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