Cop’s posting to Malaysia raises LKP’s suspicionsOpposition politicians raised suspicions Monday that special treatment was given to the wife of a senior cop linked to the Burning Sun nightclub scandal, who clinched a coveted overseas assignment despite an apparent lack of qualifications.
According to Rep. Joo Kwang-deok of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP), a superintendent who is married to a senior superintendent detained by the prosecution earlier this month was dispatched to the Korean Embassy in Malaysia on Sept. 1, 2017 to serve a dual-post of second secretary and consul. She is assigned to the post for three years until Aug. 31, 2020, Joo said, based on information submitted by the Foreign Ministry and National Police Agency.
The superintendent, whose surname is Kim, is the wife of a senior superintendent only identified by the surname Yun, who made headlines earlier this year due to his link to the Burning Sun scandal. He was charged with abusing his power to dismiss complaints against K-pop celebrities, including former boy band Big Bang member Seungri, and their business partners who operated nightclubs in southern Seoul.
Joo said Kim’s dispatch was suspicious because the post has been held by a Coast Guard official since its creation. Joo and opposition politicians argue that Yun’s tie to the Moon Jae-in Blue House was behind the plum assignment.
Yun served in the office of the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs from July 2017 through August 2018. At the time, Cho Kuk, a key ally of Moon, was the senior secretary.
The post in the Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was created in 2007 because of the country’s strategic importance in maritime affairs. The Strait of Malacca is the shortest trade route between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, and most crude oil shipments from the Middle East to Korea go through the straight.
The Piracy Reporting Center of International Maritime Bureau is located in Malaysia. The Coast Guard has been sending a delegate to the mission in Malaysia, until Kim’s dispatch in 2017.
Kim’s appointment raised eyebrows in the Coast Guard. “There are about 10 overseas posts for Coast Guard officials,” a Coast Guard official said. “Many complained [in 2017] that a cop from overland police snatched the key post in a maritime hub.”
The JoongAng Ilbo obtained requirements for the post issued in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry. They state that the most important priority is guarding against piracy on behalf of Korean ships sailing in the Strait of Malacca. The requirements for the 2014 dispatch also listed that as the top priority.
But the qualifications changed in 2017 when Kim applied for the job. The new requirements listed protection of Koreans overseas as the top priority, while the anti-piracy mission was listed as the second priority.
The LKP demanded an investigation into Kim’s selection. Joo said Yun, who was working at the Blue House, must have helped her win the job.
Joo, as well as LKP floor leader Na Kyung-won, raised the suspicion that Kim was sent to Malaysia to support Moon’s daughter Moon Da-hye and her family, who reportedly have moved to a nearby country identified in press reports as Thailand.
BY KIM KI-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]