Judge caught with prostitute in Gangnam

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Judge caught with prostitute in Gangnam

A senior judge has been booked on charges of prostitution after police officers on an overnight operation caught him leaving the crime scene in Gangnam District in southern Seoul on Tuesday night.

Police identified the suspect as a 45-year-old judge who works for the National Court Administration, which is in charge of general administrative affairs of the Supreme Court.

The suspect, surnamed Shim, reportedly admitted to paying for sex during police questioning and was sent home early Wednesday morning.

Police said the prostitute, a woman in her 40s, has been pressed with the same charges.

Shim allegedly had sex with the woman in an officetel (a studio flat rented to residential and commercial patrons) in Gangnam at around 11 p.m. Tuesday, and paid her 200,000 won ($180).

At the time, police were combing the area to bust sex traffickers, an operation that has been underway since early this year.

Officers were passing by the room Shim was in and bumped into him when he opened the door to leave.

Only Shim and the prostitute were found inside.

Police said Shim was drunk at the time, but have yet to figure out who he was drinking with. Shim confessed he saw a flyer advertising the illegal service and decided to make the call.

The case will soon be sent to prosecutors for further investigation.

Shim didn’t show up for work Wednesday as it was his day off. An official from the Supreme Court said the judicial branch was figuring out the details, adding that Shim will face serious penalties if found guilty.

Sources in the legal circle who are close friends with Shim said they were “shocked” with the news, and that the judge was widely revered for his good character and working talent.

Shim’s colleague at the National Court Administration, a judge, said the case would likely have a notable impact on the Supreme Court.

BY IM JANG-HYUK, YOON JUNG-MIN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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