A lawyer who is suspected of being a key figure behind a high-profile opinion rigging scandal involving a former presidential aide was arrested Tuesday, according to the authorities.
The lawyer, 61, who is only identified by his last name Doh, is suspected of being one of the key people behind the “Druking” scandal, which involved a number of bloggers who allegedly manipulated “likes” of certain online comments in an effort to sway public opinion in favor of the now-ruling Democratic Party last year.
According to the prosecution, Doh is one of the closest colleagues of Kim Dong-won, a power blogger who is better known by his nickname, Druking. Kim, currently under custody, has been at the heart of the scandal since it first broke out in April. An independent investigation into the case began in May, following the parliament’s approval.
Lawyer Doh (center). (Yonhap)
Kim, once a supporter of President Moon Jae-in, reportedly turned his back on the ruling party -- allegedly after the presidential office refused his personnel appointment requests. Kim is reported to have demanded the consul-general post in Osaka, Japan, for an acquaintance in return for his cyberspace activities for Moon during the presidential election campaign.
The prosecution believes that Kim tried to get the consul-general appointment for Doh by illicitly recommending him to Cheong Wa Dae. It is still unclear why Kim and Doh wanted the particular position in Japan.
A former ruling party lawmaker and presidential aide, Kim Kyoung-soo, who is now the Gyeonggi provincial governor, has been suspected of being involved in the case.
Doh is also suspected of bribing some heavyweight, left-leaning politicians, in collaboration with Kim, during the presidential election campaign last year.
Kim is known to be well-connected in the world of liberal politics. An eloquent writer with many fans and followers -- his blog has been visited by nearly 10 million people -- Kim also ran an offline organization for economic justice starting from 2014, attracting some 2,400 members.
Roh Hoe-chan, the floor leader of the minor progressive Justice Party, is among politicians who have lectured at events organized by Kim’s organization.
The prosecution suspects that Doh tried to bribe Roh with some 50 million won, collected from members of Kim’s organization.
By Claire Lee (email@example.com