Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui is likely to be reinvestigated on sex crime charges, of which he had been cleared in 2013, as the Justice Ministry views the previous decision as an apparent misjudgment.
A special independent panel at the Ministry of Justice looking into past rulings recommended Tuesday a probe into Kim’s case in which he was accused of multiple charges, including rape, bribery and narcotics use. The committee, which was established by the Moon Jae-in administration in December, has been reviewing past cases to see if there had been any irregularities in reaching a verdict.
Kim Hak-ui (Yonhap)
In 2013, police at the time suspected Kim, who resigned over the scandal soon after his appointment as vice minister in March 2013, of having received sexual services in return for business favors.
According to the investigators, local construction contractor Yoon Joong-cheon had provided high-ranking figures, including Kim, with sexual services at his vacation home in Wonju, Gangwon Province, between 2006 and 2008. The case was made public at the same time that video footage appearing to show intimate encounters between Kim and others at a vacation house went viral.
Months into the case, however, the prosecution cleared Kim of the alleged crimes in November 2013, citing lack of evidence.
In last week’s episode of MBC’s “PD Notepad,” a victim who claimed to have been at the scene in the video clip was interviewed.
The victims said the Kim and Yoon forced themselves on them, and added that they threatened to release the video if the victims did not follow their orders.
Kim currently heads his own law firm.
The independent panel also advised a prosecution inquiry team to review three more past cases that may have been mishandled due to the prosecution’s abuse of power.
The 12 cases recommended for reinvestigation include a suspected forgery case, in which a North Korean man was charged with espionage on evidence offered by the state spy agency in 2013. The evidence from the National Intelligence Service turned out to have been concocted.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)