Jeju prosecutor held for flashingKim Soo-chang, the chief of the Jeju District Prosecutors’ Office who was arrested for performing a lewd act in public, declared his intention to step down from his position pending an investigation of the case yesterday.
Kim, 52, allegedly unzipped his pants and flashed his genitals in a street in front of a restaurant near Jeju Fire Station in Jeju City, just before midnight on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old high school girl passing by reported that a man was performing lewd acts to the police. Kim was arrested by police a little before 1 a.m. the next day in front of a chain restaurant in the vicinity of several schools including a girls’ high school.
Kim, however, has proclaimed his innocence and called the accusations “groundless allegations that are destroying a public official’s character.” He went to strenuous lengths to avoid being identified when he was arrested Thursday morning.
“In order to vindicate myself, I will step down voluntarily for a speedy and thorough investigation should my position as a chief prosecutor hinder the process in the slightest bit,” Kim told reporters yesterday in a press room in the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seocho District, southern Seoul. He indicated this did not mean he would resign immediately.
According to officials, Kim was intoxicated at the time of his arrest and lied to the police to conceal his true identity.
At first, Kim, who became head of the Jeju District Prosecutors’ Office last year, told the police trying to arrest him that it was a case of mistaken identity and that it had been another person in similar clothes who committed the lewd acts.
When that didn’t work, he didn’t give police his real name but instead told the arresting officers the name of his younger brother instead of his own name. His true identity was only confirmed after fingerprint identification. He was detained at the Dongbu Police Station and released at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Kim said in the briefing yesterday that he pretended to be his younger brother because he didn’t want to “become a burden” on the Jeju prosecutors’ office.
He said that although he was innocent, a report of the chief prosecutor being investigated by police could add to the tension between police and prosecutors.
On the day of the arrest, Kim had been wearing a green top and beige shorts. He continues to claim that he was arrested in lieu of the real perpetrator, who was dressed similarly.
To explain why he was walking briskly when police approached him, Kim said he was taking a walk in his neighborhood. He lives around three-minutes away from the restaurant where he was arrested. He said he was not intoxicated at the time of his arrest.
A team of inspectors from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Friday went to Jeju Island and confiscated CCTV footage around the street as well as the initial police report.
Officials pointed out that Kim failed to report the incident to his superiors immediately.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]