Municipal councilman’s life sentence sustained

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Municipal councilman’s life sentence sustained

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the previous verdict against a Seoul municipal council member, who was sentenced to life in prison last year for inciting the murder of a wealthy businessman to whom he owed millions of won.

Kim Hyung-sik, 45, a member of the Seoul Metropolitan Council, was convicted for making arrangements for his longtime friend to kill the Seoul businessman, surnamed Song.

The court ruled that the decision was appropriate because it was based on logic and principle.

Kim was stripped of his post the same day as a municipal council member. Korean law stipulates that a person sentenced to imprisonment or the death penalty is not eligible to run for municipal elections, and that those already elected will be stripped of his or her post.

The councilman was arrested in June 2014 and charged for persuading his friend, surnamed Paeng, to carry out the killing early on March 3 in a residential building in Naebalsan-dong, Gangseo District, southwestern Seoul.

According to the police investigation, Kim received 520 million won ($439,932) from Song between October 2010 and December 2011 on the promise that he would use his influence in securing the remodeling of the Balsan Station area in Gangseo District from a residential area into a new business complex.

Song, who was 67 years old at the time, intended to expand his building in the area for his tourist hotel business. After Kim neglected to follow through on his promise, however, the businessman threatened to reveal the scheme. Fearing for his political career, Kim asked Paeng, to kill the businessman.

Paeng, who owed the councilman 70 million won, accepted on the condition that all the debts he have be cleared.

BY NAM YOON-SEO [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]

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