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Gov't vows thorough investigation into 3 sex-for-favor cases

National 14:56 March 19, 2019

SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government pledged Tuesday to get to the bottom of three high-profile sex-for-favors scandals that allegedly involve influential men in government, media and show business.

Interior and Safety Minister Kim Boo-kyum and Justice Minister Park Sang-ki held a rare joint news conference to announce plans to investigate the cases, one day after President Moon Jae-in told the ministries to "stake the fate" of their organizations on uncovering the truth.

One of the cases involves K-pop boy band BIGBANG's Seungri and singer Jung Joon-young. Seungri is accused of arranging sexual services for prospective investors, while Jung faces charges of illegally filming sex tapes and sharing them on a mobile chat. They are also suspected of having collusive ties with police.

"If the cozy ties turn out to be true, my office will ensure every single person, regardless of their rank, will face stern punishment," Minister Kim told the news briefing.

Justice Minister Park said the ministry has extended the independent truth panel's term for another two months to wind up the reinvestigations into two cases of sexual crimes alleged to have occurred some 10 years ago.

In one case, former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui faces suspicions of raping women and receiving sexual services during a banquet arranged by a local developer who was seeking business favors from Kim. At the time, Kim was a senior prosecution official.

He was cleared of the charge in 2013, but doubts have remained over whether the prosecution properly handled the case.

The other case refers to the suicide of rookie actress Jang Ja-yeon. Jang hanged herself in her house in 2009 and left a suicide note saying she was forced by her entertainment agency to provide sex to at least 30 men, including the head of a major newspaper.

"The ministry will spare no effort in probing fresh allegations that have surfaced so as to get to the truth and hold those accountable for their criminal acts," Park said.

Kim and Jang's cases have been reinvestigated by a truth panel under the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, along with a deadly 2009 clash between police and protesters in Yongsan, central Seoul, after questions arose that the prosecution may have mishandled the old cases because they implicated high-profile figures.

Interior Minister Kim Boo-kyum and Justice Minister Park Sang-ki speak to the press during a briefing in Seoul on March 19, 2019. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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