Condoning violenceRep. Kim Hyun of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy is at the center of a recent controversial midnight drunken brawl. The incident made headlines earlier this month because it involved representatives of a group of families fighting for an impartial investigation into the April 16 Sewol ferry sinking that killed nearly 300 people, mostly students. According to witness testimonies, Kim yelled at his driver-for-hire when the latter complained for making him wait too long after he arrived to pick Kim up. Some members of the committee representing the Sewol victims’ families who had been drinking with Kim, took his side in the argument, which turned in to a scuffle.
Kim’s behavior toward the call-service driver was taped by a nearby CCTV camera and confirmed by a number of witnesses. One witness said a woman yelled at the driver and said she saw a group of people beating the driver “like a dog.” Kim was investigated by the police and told reporters that she had neither shouted at the driver nor witnessed any violence.
Kim yelled at one of the family member's driver-for-hire when the latter complained for making him wait too long after he arrived to pick up the family member. She has not yet apologized for causing the argument. She should leave the legislative committee on security and public administration.
The house speaker should submit her misbehavior for review by the ethics committee. The National Assembly ethics committee should separately interview witnesses and investigate the case to decide whether to reprimand Kim for demeaning the legislature’s reputation and lying to the public.
The NPAD has so far kept mum on Kim’s case. The new head, Moon Hee-sang, who promised to reinvent the party, has not said anything about the controversy. The party spokesman has also not made any statements. The party’s subcommittee committed to fighting and improving weaker civilians’ rights has also turned a blind eye to the case in which one of its party members has infringed the rights of a weaker party.
The beaten driver is demanding cross interrogations and the use of a lie detector on Kim. The police should comply and investigate thoroughly. If she indeed treated him badly, she committed a minor crime of disrupting work. If she condoned violence, she is an accomplice to an assault. The CCTV clearly shows her at the scene. Kim must apologize and comply with the law.
JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 29, Page 30