SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- Six former presidential secretaries to President Park Geun-hye were found to have illegally intervened in local elections and politics during the previous administration, police said Thursday.
A special investigation team of the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) said it has referred the six, including former presidential Chief of Staff Lee Byung-ki and two former senior presidential secretaries for political affairs, Hyun Ki-hwan and Cho Yoon-sun, to the prosecution for indictment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of the performance of official duties.
Three former social security secretaries to Park -- Lee Cheol-seong, who later served as the commissioner general of the KNPA; Goo Eun-soo, who later headed the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency; and Park Hwa-jin, who currently heads the KNPA's Foreign Affairs Investigation Division, were also referred to the prosecution on the same charges.
The six are accused of having asked the police's intelligence-related departments to collect intelligence related to elections or specific political figures and organizations critical of the Park administration and report them to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
The special investigation team suspects the six of having abused their authority by instructing police intelligence officials to perform tasks that went beyond their call of duty.
The KNPA last year launched the special probe after discovering documents suggestive of illegal political surveillance by police intelligence officials in a raid on a private building of former President Lee Myung-bak. It also found separate documents indicating similar illegalities allegedly committed during the Park administration.
Separately from the police probe, prosecutors have also been investigating former KNPA chief Kang Shin-myung and others on charges of masterminding illegal political interventions by police intelligence departments.
Following the prosecutors' probe, Kang was put under arrest last week on charges of violating the election law. Prosecutors also requested arrest warrants for Lee Cheol-seong and Park Hwa-jin on the same charges but a Seoul district court rejected them.
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