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Police whistleblower faces probe over malicious perjury allegations

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Published : 2014-07-15 20:49
Updated : 2014-07-15 20:49

The prosecution plans to launch an investigation into police officer-turned-politician Kwon Eun-hee over alleged perjury during former Seoul police chief Kim Yong-pan’s trial, casting doubt on her parliamentary campaign.

On Monday, right-wing nongovernmental organization Young’s Liberty Union lodged a complaint against Kwon accusing her of perjury, including a legally different category known as “malicious perjury.”

According to reports, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office is now considering to which department to assign the case, and plans to summon the plaintiffs for questioning in the near future. 
New Politics Alliance for Democracy cochairman Rep. Kim Han-gil (right) attends the opening of the campaign office for Kwon Eun-hee, NPAD candidate for Gwangju’s Gwangsan-B constituency, in Gwangju on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Earlier in the year, the prosecution had dropped a similar case after an initial investigation.

Under the Criminal Act, perjury is punishable by a fine of less than 10 million won ($9,700) or up to a five-year jail term. Malicious perjury ― bearing false witness in order to damage the defendant’s case ― could incur a prison term of up to 10 years.

Kwon, a former police officer, is running for Gwangju’s Gwangsan-B constituency as the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy candidate in the July 30 by-elections.

The 40-year-old gained attention last year when she claimed that Kim intervened in her investigation into the allegations that the National Intelligence Service ran a smear campaign against the opposition candidate in the 2012 presidential election.

During the trial that ensued, Kwon testified that she was ordered not to file for a search warrant regarding the NIS agent implicated in the case. She also testified that Kim continuously interfered with her investigation. Kim has so far been cleared of the charges.

As the prosecution prepares to look into the second perjury charge brought against Kwon, the former police officer may become involved in another case involving alleged perjury.

The second case revolves around one Kwon took on in 2004 when she was working as a lawyer. In the case, Kwon defended a man accused of habitually abusing his wife. During the trial, the wife backtracked on her police report and denied that her husband attacked her with a 1-meter-long blade.

The prosecutor on the case then filed for a warrant on the wife on charges of perjury. After the woman confessed that she was acting under the direction of Kwon, however, the warrant was not executed and she was instead fined 1 million won.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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