Moon directs probes into 3 sex scandals

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Moon directs probes into 3 sex scandals

In his first public statement on the mushrooming sex, drugs and police protection scandal involving Korean entertainment figures, President Moon Jae-in ordered police and prosecutors on Monday to consider their “fate” tied to getting to the bottom of that case as well as two other sex scandals that occurred in former conservative administrations.

Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a statement issued to reporters Monday afternoon that Moon gave the order to Justice Minister Park Sang-ki, who oversees prosecutors, and Interior and Security Minister Kim Boo-kyum, who oversees the police, while the two cabinet members briefed Moon about the three sex scandals earlier that day. The briefing was said to have been held for an hour from 2 p.m. at the Blue House.

Moon told his ministers to investigate the truth in all three cases regardless of their statutes of limitations. For charges in which statutes of limitations have yet to expire, he urged legal action against the perpetrators.

Moon pointed out that members of the public believe that prosecutors and police officers didn't investigate to their fullest capacity on purpose for some cases in the past and, in fact, “blocked the revelation of the truth.”

If the prosecution and police fail to thoroughly reveal these past wrongdoings, Moon warned, both organizations will lose public trust and Korea will not develop into a just society.

One of the three cases Moon was briefed about Monday involved Seungri, former member of top K-pop act Big Bang, and his Gangnam nightclub Burning Sun, which has led to several other celebrities bowing out of the entertainment industry for good or announcing an immediate halt to their appearances on television shows. Seoul police have been investigating the case for weeks, including suspicions that their own officers turned a blind eye to the irregularities at Burning Sun and protected Seungri and his business partners from legal jeopardy.

Another case was a 2013 sex scandal involving former Deputy Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui, who served only six days in the post during the Park Geun-hye administration before he resigned amid allegations he attended a party thrown by a contractor who hired women to have sex with high-profile figures in order to gain business favors. That scandal later evolved into a drug-and-rape case when a woman came forward to media claiming she was drugged and raped by the deputy justice minister and the contractor, and was videotaped against her will having sex with them.

The third case Moon was briefed about Monday revolved around the deceased actress Jang Ja-yeon, who committed suicide on March 7, 2009, after leaving a letter in which she claimed to have been forced by her former manager to have sex with influential figures in the entertainment industry to land roles on television. Jang’s best-known act was a small role in the KBS TV series “Boys Over Flowers” (2009). Jang died a little more than three weeks before the drama wrapped up during the Lee Myung-bak administration.

A committee within the prosecution service reinvestigating the 2009 and 2013 sex scandals announced Monday it would investigate both cases for two more months than initially planned, until late May.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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