Female reps demand action on Shim

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Female reps demand action on Shim

The ruling party’s female lawmakers held a press conference on Friday to urge the National Assembly to punish Rep. Shim Hak-bong, who had abandoned his Saenuri affiliation amid a sex scandal.

Twenty Saenuri representatives held a morning meeting to discuss the party, the legislature’s handling of the case and to express their concerns.

“We were worried that this incident will end with a slap on the wrist to protect a fellow lawmaker,” Rep. Jasmine Lee said after the meeting. “In order to assure that this embarrassing incident never happens again, we demand the National Assembly and the party take more aggressive action against him.”

Earlier this week, local police opened an investigation into allegations waged against Shim by one of his acquaintances, who claimed the first-term lawmaker raped her last month.

However, the woman later withdrew her testimony. Shim, who represents Gumi A district in North Gyeongsang, stepped down from the Saenuri Party and apologized for “having caused discomfort over a shameful incident,” but did not resign from his seat in the National Assembly and remains an independent lawmaker.

The Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office picked up the case after the Daegu police claimed the charge was unsupportable and wrapped up their investigation Tuesday.

Prosecutors plan to look into whether Shim forced himself on the woman when the two met at a hotel last month and whether he forced or bribed her to change her testimony.

The nearly two dozen female Saenuri lawmakers have called on the National Assembly to review the case via its special committee on ethics and determine punitive action for Shim.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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