Punish all who knewThe black-box video recording of intoxicated Vice Justice Minister Lee Yong-gu hurling insults and assaulting the cab driver behind the wheels was released six months after the incident took place. It was shameful to see a senior government official in charge of judicial policy cursing and grabbing a citizen.
The taxi driver testified that Lee had offered him 10 million won ($9,000) to have the black box video erased on Nov. 8, two days after the assault. An attempt to destroy evidence is a crime. Lee claimed he did not offer the money in exchange for the deletion of the black-box video but to keep him quiet as Lee had been mentioned as a candidate to head the new Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO). Lee more or less has admitted that he tried to bribe the cab driver to keep his wrongdoing sealed.
Police closed the affair as a “simple assault” and the Blue House pushed ahead with his promotion. The case was publicized after he became the vice minister and also a suspect in a criminal case. And yet, he has been in the office for more than five months.
Given the new findings, the Blue House and police are suspected to have colluded to cover up Lee’s case.
The Seocho police office learned Lee was being considered as the chief of the CIO and reported the matter to higher-ups. The police turned out to have lied as they kept saying that no one had received a report on the affair.
If the affair had been reported, the secretariat for civil affairs at the Blue House also would have known. Yet the presidential office pushed ahead with Lee’s appointment to put him in charge of suspending Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl. He was the best man to carry out the anti-Yoon campaign left by his previous bosses Cho Kuk and Choo Mi-ae.
The taxi driver claimed that the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office had obtained the black-box footage in December.
Lee Sung-yoon, who was the head of the Seoul Central District Office, also would have reported it to the Blue House.
The previous government had appointed former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui even when the police had the video evidence of a sex scandal. Both cases brimmed with lies, hypocrisy, and illegalities backed by the governing power. The officers involved must be penalized for deceiving the people to hide the crimes of influential figures. The government must toughen discipline of government employees to prevent such shameful lapses from recurring.