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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Sept. 18)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:17 September 18, 2020

Rep. Yoon must resign

Given the accounts in the prosecutorial indictment, there must not be any tolerance for Rep. Yoon Mee-hyang, who had led organizations supporting survivors of Japanese wartime sexual slavery before winning a legislative seat under the ruling Democratic Party (DP) backing. She has been accused of exploiting and stealing money from the surviving victims and embezzling donations.

Yoon never apologized when the two living survivors and their family members raised the suspicions, or to the people who had donated money to her organizations. She lambasted at the prosecution for launching an investigation and attended National Assembly sessions in a casual manner. She did not show any decency or remorsefulness.

The indictment was filed after four months into the investigation. But still the prosecution stalled it after she became a ruling party lawmaker. Even as her charges were serious, the prosecution did not file for an arrest warrant and briefly questioned her twice. The indictment also lacked sincerity. The organizations under her received a large amount of donations and government subsidies. But the prosecution's probe did not thoroughly track the flow of money.

Yoon kept donations in five personal bank accounts. She also used up 100 million won (US$85,215) from them and the staff account of the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Slavery by Japan. She admitted her daughter's overseas study expenses cost 100 million won. But the prosecutorial probe found the money to be 300 million won and still could not explain the criminality. The prosecution also could not track down the funding for the homes Yoon bought with cash.

The prosecution must dig up the case through additional investigation if it wants to avoid the shame of overlooking the wrongdoings of a ruling party lawmaker. The poor book-keeping and reports of donation expenditures by the NGOs were possible due to a lack of legal grounds for punishment. Laws should be revised to prevent such account frauds of NGOs.

The criminal counts are powerful enough to put Yoon in criminal accountability. She was chosen as a proportional representative by the ruling party because of her devotion to fight for the rights of comfort women. But since she has been accused of exploiting them, she must resign from her legislative seat. Those who had defended her also must apologize to the people.
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