Detention considered for troubled NPAD repThe prosecution said Friday that it will take legal steps to detain Rep. Park Ki-choon, the chairman of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee in the National Assembly, to investigate him further about his alleged violation of the political funding law.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said that it has requested the Seoul Central District Court to issue a detention warrant for Rep. Park, a three-term lawmaker in the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), who has been charged with taking illegal political funds. Park, 59, represents Namyangju B District in Gyeonggi.
Park is a veteran NPAD member who entered politics in his early 30s as a lawmaker’s aide. After serving in the Gyeonggi Provincial Council for two terms, he won the general elections in 2004 on an Uri Party ticket, the predecessor to the NPAD, to represent his current district.
Since then, he has served in key posts for the liberal opposition party.
After the NPAD lost the 2012 presidential election, the party elected new leaders to cope with its bitter defeat, and Park was chosen as its new floor leader. He has served as the chairman of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee in the National Assembly since June 2014.
A sitting lawmaker is immune from arrest or detention during a legislative session without the National Assembly’s consent. Because the legislature opened its extraordinary session on Friday, the prosecutors can only take him into custody after the legislature approves a motion to allow the detention. The motion requires more than half of sitting lawmakers to attend the vote and majority approval.
After the court submits the request to the government to file the motion, the government will ask the National Assembly to approve it. The motion will be introduced to the legislature on the first proceeding session and a vote must take place between 24 hours and 72 hours later.
According to the prosecution, Park is suspected to have received about 358 million won worth of cash and luxury watches from a real estate developer from 2011 to February.
It added that Park had returned the money and watches to the businessman after an investigation was opened, which means the lawmaker potentially faces an additional charge for destruction of evidence.
Both the ruling and opposition parties said they will not provide protection for Park.
BY SER MYO-JA [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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