Three lawmakers detained overnight on corruption charges

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Three lawmakers detained overnight on corruption charges

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Park Sang-eun,and Cho Hyun-yong of the ruling Saenuri Party,Shin Geh-ryoon and Shin Hak-yong, Kim Jae-yun of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD)

Three out of five lawmakers wanted on corruption or election law violation charges were unexpectedly arrested Thursday night, just minutes before an extra session of the National Assembly that would have given them an immunity from arrest kicked off at midnight.

This is the first time in almost a year that incumbent legislators were arrested since Lee Seok-ki, a member of the minor United Progressive Party, had been on charges of plotting treason.

Those lawmakers to whom the courts in Seoul and Incheon issued arrest warrants are Reps. Kim Jae-yun of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) and Cho Hyun-yong and Park Sang-eun of the ruling Saenuri Party. The courts denied the prosecutors’ request to arrest the other two NPAD Reps. Shin Geh-ryoon and Shin Hak-yong, who both had denied their charges earlier.

The surprise arrest came hours after the Seoul Central District Court and the Incheon District Court called them in for a warrant hearing.

Those five lawmakers earlier Thursday played cat-and-mouse with the detectives dispatched by the prosecution to evade the questioning at the court in a vain attempt to play for time until a “bulletproof” session of the legislature began at midnight. They eventually reversed their position to voluntarily appear at courts.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]
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