Prosecutors are looking for direct evidence to link an incumbent Seoul metropolitan lawmaker to a suspected contract killing, officials said Monday.
Kim Hyung-sik, recently elected to the Seoul municipal council in the June local elections, was arrested last month on charges of hiring a hit man to kill a political financier.
The hit man, surnamed Paeng, told police Kim hired him after his arrest in May. Paeng confessed to murdering “Mr. Song,” a real estate magnate who allegedly gave Kim illicit political funds, according to police.
Police forwarded the case to prosecutors last Friday, but prosecutors do not have direct evidence showing that Kim ordered Paeng to commit the murder. Paeng’s remarks are the only leads investigators currently have, officials said.
Song apparently gave Kim more than 500 million won ($495,000) in multiple payments from 2010 to 2011. Song “invested” in Kim because the councilor had promised to pass several bills at the Seoul City Council that would raise property prices in western Seoul ― where Song owned a bulk of land.
But when Kim failed to pass the promised legislation, Song threatened to sabotage Kim’s election campaigns in the recent local elections.
Kim got nervous and hired Paeng to do his bidding, police said.
Kim is denying all charges.
Rumors are arising that the deceased Song had also lobbied local district councilors, other than Kim. Prosecutors may widen investigations and arrest additional suspects if the rumors prove true.
Kim could also face bribery charges in a separate case, after prosecutors found evidence suggesting the city official received kickbacks from AVT, a railroad parts supplier.
Former and current AVT officials are also facing allegations that they illegally lobbied politicians in both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy.
By Jeong Hunny (firstname.lastname@example.org)