Jeju’s chief prosecutor steps down amid scandal

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Jeju’s chief prosecutor steps down amid scandal

The Ministry of Justice said yesterday that it has dismissed Kim Soo-chang from his post as the chief of the Jeju District Prosecutors’ Office after he was accused last week of committing a lewd act in public. “Although the allegations are on private lapses unrelated to his duties, it will be difficult [for Kim] to lead the office in a situation where an investigation of the chief prosecutor of the jurisdiction in question is underway and there is continued controversy in regard to the investigation process,” the Ministry of Justice said.

Kim, who had been on a week-long sick leave, tendered his resignation to the ministry yesterday, a day after he said he might do so. The resignation was accepted by Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who ordered Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae to conduct a thorough investigation.

Kim has denied all allegations, stating that he was mistaken for another similarly dressed man. CCTV clips procured by prosecutors show a man apparently committing lewd acts while watching female passersby. Authorities are still trying to confirm whether it was Kim due to the low quality of the footage.

The Jeju District Prosecutors’ Office stated in a briefing yesterday that the three CCTV clips covering the location that were confiscated by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office last week were handed over to the National Forensic Service on Sunday for analysis.

According to the initial police report, at 11:58 p.m. on Aug. 12, an 18-year-old high school girl who was walking past testified that, “some ajeossi [middle-aged man] in a green top and white pants is masturbating,” the Jeju police revealed yesterday.

About 10 minutes later, police arrived on the scene, a restaurant near the Jeju Fire Station in Jeju City, where they spotted Kim, who fit the girl’s description, sitting at an outdoor table.

In the initial police investigation, Kim refused to identify himself, later giving his brother’s name, and then trying to hide his identity again until fingerprint analysis gave it away.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]



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