Misusing YouTubeRhyu Si-min, a former liberal politician and head of a foundation in memory of President Roh Moo-hyun, has been volunteering as a defense lawyer for Justice Minister Cho Kuk and his family for more than a month to the extent of eagerly making up lies and slanderous accusations. He has called the prosecution’s probe of Cho’s family a “judicial coup” by Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl against his boss.
Rhyu is now suspected of editing an interview with Kim Kyung-rok — who managed assets for Cho’s wife, Prof. Chung Kyung-sim, and came under prosecutorial questioning for destruction of evidence by removing hard drives from computers in her office at a local university — before he aired it on his YouTube channel Alileo. Rhyu told Kim that the removal of hard drives could not have constituted destruction of evidence, but he left out Kim’s answer when he said it did. He pressed on with questions to draw answers he wished to hear.
Rhyu has been lashing out at the prosecution every single day on his YouTube channel since Aug. 29. He attacked the law enforcement agency’s investigations for being an “X-rated thriller involving the family as hostage.” He went so far as to claim that mainstream journalists were venting their outrage at Cho “because he had everything they did not have.” He even called up the Dongyang University president to advise him what to say to prosecutors when he is questioned over the allegation of a fake award issued to Cho’s daughter.
It is baffling to see Rhyu — who in the past demanded the prosecution and media challenge corruption under past conservative governments — suddenly go all-out in defense of the ruling power now that it is under the liberal forces. Rhyu often caused outrage for his controversial remarks as a lawmaker and health minister under former President Roh. He kept up his outspokenness after he became a self-proclaimed writer and social critic since retiring from politics in 2013.
Rhyu heads the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, the backbone of liberals. Many suspect political motives for him to go so far in defending Cho. He may be out to win the favor of President Moon Jae-in by advocating for his political protégé or build up his support base to become Cho’s substitute if the justice minister loses favor with the public. If he has a political design, Rhyu must play fairly and join the ruling party instead of spreading false news by posing as a YouTube commentator.
JoongAng Sunday, Oct. 12, Page 30