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Prosecution raids police HQ in election-meddling probe

Politics 14:09 January 16, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors launched a search at the police headquarters Thursday morning for an investigation into election-meddling allegations involving the incumbent Ulsan mayor, a close presidential confidant.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office dispatched investigators to the National Police Agency in relation to suspicions that some presidential officials intervened in the 2018 mayoral election held in Ulsan, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Investigators appeared to be searching for evidence that would help determine how a tipoff involving then-mayor Kim Gi-hyeon was allegedly transferred from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae to the Ulsan Metropolitan Police Agency.

This file photo shows the National Police Agency in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows the National Police Agency in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

The election-meddling allegations triggered a massive investigation after former mayor Kim claimed that the Ulsan police deliberately raided his office a few months ahead of the election and that the presidential office was behind the move.

Kim alleged that some presidential officials compiled a document on bribery allegations involving his confidants based on tips from the city's former vice mayor, Song Byung-gi, which led to the raid that negatively affected his election campaign.

Kim, who was seeking reelection as a conservative Liberty Korea Party candidate, lost to current mayor Song Cheol-ho, who ran as a candidate of the ruling Democratic Party.

Prosecutors have carried out multiple raids at government offices, including the finance ministry. Its attempt to search Cheong Wa Dae last week, however, fell through as the presidential office refused to cooperate, citing an inappropriate process.


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