No emotional controlJustice Minister Choo Mi-ae posted photos of a reporter with a camera in hand waiting around her apartment. She accused the reporter of violating her privacy by snooping around her home despite her urge to the media organization to refrain from photo-taking on her private premises. She also said she would work from home unless she is free to go to work without bother.
A reporter can go to the minister’s residence for questions about current affairs. Choo is a veteran politician who headed the ruling Democratic Party. Prohibiting reporters around her home is an overreaction. She exposed the reporter’s face on Facebook with a clearly vengeful motive. The reporter was soon harassed by malicious comments by Choo’s followers. Choo’s prickly nature has become controversial. She once snapped at an opposition lawmaker “for writing fiction” when he pursued the allegation about her son getting a special favor for his sick leave during military service. She sounded apologetic when some truth was found in the story. When she was accused of lying, she turned spiteful and sneered at the lawmaker, asking, “Are you writing a long novel now?”
During the National Assembly’s audit of the Justice Ministry, she claimed that Optimus Asset Management’s internal report listing its lobbying activities to be “fake.” The prosecution has not pressed ahead with an investigation after learning of the file three months before. A special investigation has been launched by the prosecution. But claiming the file to be false even before a reinvestigation started could be interpreted as a hint — or an order — from Choo.
Last week, the Justice Ministry demoted former senior prosecutor Han Dong-hoon, who has been under suspicion for colluding with a TV reporter to pressure a businessman to testify unfavorably about a pro-government figure. The transfer was made after Han criticized Choo for dismissing the protocol of banning disclosure of ongoing criminal investigations when it comes to the particular case involving the reporter.
Han, former head of the anticorruption bureau at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, was demoted to deputy head of the Busan High Prosecutors’ Office in January. He was removed from the office in June due to alleged collusion and was transferred to the Institute of Justice in Jincheon, North Chungcheong. He was shifted three times in less than a year. The demotion can only be understood as a vengeful action from Choo. Choo cannot control her emotions. It could be better if she chooses not to return to work permanently.