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Gov. Kim set to appear for special counsel's questioning in opinion rigging probe

All Headlines 07:48 August 06, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo was set to appear for questioning by special prosecutors Monday over his alleged involvement in massive online opinion rigging led by a power blogger.

He is scheduled to present himself at the special counsel's office in Gangnam, southern Seoul, at 9:30 a.m. The special prosecution team summoned him as a suspect Friday.

The scandal centers on allegations that the power blogger, better known by his nickname Druking, massively manipulated comments on Internet news stories in an effort to sway public opinion on hot-button political issues in favor of the now-ruling Democratic Party.

Kim, a former DP lawmaker who was elected governor in June's elections, allegedly communicated with Druking frequently through untraceable messenger apps.

Special investigators suspect that Kim worked with Druking's crew to artificially jack up the number of likes for Internet comments attached to news articles about the DP, then the opposition bloc, between 2016 and early 2017.

In November 2016, Kim was allegedly invited by the Druking team to see a demonstration of a computer program designed to rig comments, and he gave them tacit approval to carry out the alleged plan and let them brief him about it regularly.

Kim is also suspected of offering the position of the consulate general in the Japanese city of Osaka to Druking while asking for help in this year's elections.

Kim rejected these allegations and denied any wrongdoing, saying they are "fiction."

The photo shows South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo talking to the press in Gimhae, 312 km southeast of Seoul, on Aug. 3, 2018. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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