Suspicious coordinationChoi Soon-sil, the longtime friend of President Park Geun-hye who has caused a national uproar for suspected abuses of unauthorized power and meddling in state affairs, has returned home from overseas.
Other figures implicated in scandals related to Choi also have turned themselves in to prosecutors, raising suspicions that they might be acting upon some kind of plan.
Choi arrived at the Incheon International Airport early Sunday on a flight from London. Her lawyer issued an apology on her behalf and relayed her promise to answer prosecutorial questioning with sincerity. But the lawyer pleaded to the prosecution to give her a day or so to collect herself from a long trip citing her fragile health. Prosecutors said they could wait, but politicians called for immediate arrest and investigation.
Choi reportedly changed her mind and has decided to hurry back home amid snowballing allegations and rumors around her. Her close associate Ko Young-tae, who has been managing Choi’s company, also returned from overseas and has been undergoing questioning from prosecutors.
Former presidential speechwriters and employees of the foundations Choi created also have been complying with investigations. Cha Eun-taek, an advertising producer and key figure in the scandal, has also offered to return from China to answer questions from prosecutors.
The sudden compliance raises suspicions that Choi and her associates could be following orders from someone powerful coordinating with the prosecution.
If all this is to buy the suspects’ time to coordinate their testimonies or hide some kind of truth, the public will become even more outraged.
Many of the allegations have already become undeniable due to hard evidence such as the leakage of presidential documents through media reports.
The presidential office and prosecution could face a strong backlash if they try to turn the scandal into individual wrongdoings and excesses.
The prosecution is already in hot water for dragging its feet on the probe procedures. Why it did not immediately arrest Choi remains questionable. All eyes are on the prosecution and how intent it is to uncover the truth.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 31, Page 30