Investigations that backfire

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Investigations that backfire

In March, President Moon Jae-in pinpointed three sex scandals — they involved a former deputy justice minister, media figures and K-pop stars — and he ordered law enforcement authorities to get to the bottom of cases involving social elites. Since then, the prosecution accelerated its investigations while the police broadened the club sex and drug scandal that involved entertainer Seungri. The results have not been so grand. Former Deputy Minister Kim Hak-eui was finally been indicted for receiving bribes and sexual favors. But the prosecutors could not find evidence of sex crimes. The police also failed to find a connection between Seungri and other influential people. The case involving former actress Jang Ja-yeon was dropped due to lack of evidence.

Legal experts had warned against the reopening of the cases on the order of the president as that could undermine the dignity and procedures of the Ministry of Justice and the prosecution. They pointed out that the fundamental limitations in the cases won’t be any different after reinvestigation. They proved to be right. Despite efforts by the police and prosecutors, few new discoveries have been unveiled. A former actress stepped up and offered testimony about her deceased friend, but her words could not be backed with evidence. Sex parties should have been the core of Kim Hak-eui’s case, but the prosecution found nothing credible.

The Blue House could take comfort in the fact that the presidential interest in scandals that outraged the public could have won favor from the public. The renewed scandals could also have hurt the anti-government conservative media mentioned in the case involving an actress. But there has been more harm than help.

First of all, the president lost face as all the cases filed after the president’s order have been cleared by the courts so far. Second, the impotence of his aides — including Senior Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk — was highlighted again. They should have advised the president to not make the order because of the statute of limitations. Third, the law loses dignity if people attempt to overrun it. The prosecution hurt the reputation of the people involved by making comments without clear proof, and the prosecution has overreached its authority by repeatedly demanding the arrest of Kim Hak-eui.

The president must not comment on cases under investigation.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 6, Page 26
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