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Customs chief questioned over corruption scandal

Prosecutors on Friday questioned the chief of the state customs agency over allegations a former associate of ousted President Park Geun-hye's friend exerted influence on its personnel issues.

Chun Hong-uk of the Korea Customs Service was summoned to appear at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to bear witness to the suspicions surrounding Ko Young-tae.

Chief of the Korea Customs Service Chun Hong-uk speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Daejeon, central South Korea, on Jan. 30, 2017. (KCS)
Chief of the Korea Customs Service Chun Hong-uk speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Daejeon, central South Korea, on Jan. 30, 2017. (KCS)

Ko, who used to work with Choi Soon-sil, was arrested Tuesday over a number of allegations including one that he received some 20 million won ($17,400) from an official at the Incheon-based customs office in exchange for exerting influence on the agency's personnel management.

Prosecutors asked the Seoul Central District Court to issue a warrant to formally arrest Ko. The court will hold a hearing later in the day on the decision.

Ko, who made some clothing items and bags for Park, revealed the controversial relationship between Park and Choi last year, claiming that Choi received and edited the ex-president's speeches in advance. Choi had no policy experience nor did she hold any official post in the Park administration.

While Ko was praised by some as a whistleblower, others raised suspicions that he made the revelations to gain control of a company owned by Choi. (Yonhap)

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