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[Newsmaker] SMEs Minister nominee Park says Liberty Korea Party leader Hwang knew of ex-vice justice minister’s sex-bribery video

Minister of SMEs and Startups nominee Rep. Park Young-sun on Thursday continued her claims that main opposition Liberty Korea Party leader Hwang Kyo-ahn knew of ex-Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui’s sex-bribery video before he took office.

“Tell the truth. Of course, we didn’t watch the CD together. I clearly remember that afternoon, you left the scene baffled with red face and ears,” Park tweeted.


SMEs and Startups Minister nominee Park Young-sun speaks at a confirmation hearing by the National Assembly’s Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs and Startups Committee on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
SMEs and Startups Minister nominee Park Young-sun speaks at a confirmation hearing by the National Assembly’s Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs and Startups Committee on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

On Wednesday, Park turned the tables at her heated confirmation hearing and put Hwang in the hot seat by claiming that he had knowledge of Kim’s wrongdoings.

Park’s three twitter posts, included a printed weekly calendar of March 2013 showing her meeting with Hwang -- who was justice minister then -- scheduled for March 13 2013 at 4:40p.m. as the head of the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee.

During confirmation hearing, Park said that as the head of the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee in 2013, she had shown Hwang the problematic video involving Kim, at her office,.

Indicating that he had turned a blind eye to the video showing Kim’s alleged sex bribery and sexual assault, her comments put the sitting conservative party leader in the spotlight.

Hwang vehemently denied her remarks, saying, “That is nonsense. … I was informed there were no problems with then-Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui. I did not watch the CD at the committee head’s office.”

“I am not involved (in Kim’s case). Stories (of Kim) emerged after the nomination. When I asked, he said, ‘There was no such incident,’” he added.

Hwang took office as justice minister on March 11, 2013, while Kim took office as vice justice minister on March 15, but stepped down on March 21 over the sex video scandal.

At the 10-hour confirmation hearing, Park was questioned on issues ranging from her golf trip to Thailand with fellow Democratic Party of Korea members in January 2009 during an extraordinary parliamentary session, to special treatment at Seoul National University Hospital, where she received surgery without a reservation.

However, the flurry of questions was overshadowed by Park’s remarks about Hwang’s knowledge of Kim’s wrongdoings.

“I told then-Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, ‘I saw the video (of Kim) and it is extremely serious. If Kim is nominated as vice minister, the problem will snowball. Though I am the head of the opposition’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee, I am making this request for the country’s future development,’” Park said.

Democratic Party of Korea Floor Leader Hong Young-pyo backed the nominee’s remarks, saying video footage of Hwang and the judiciary committee’s transcripts indicate he knew of Kim’s misdeeds.

Park also fended off suspicions of preferential treatment at SNU Hospital. In response to a request by Liberty Korea Party Rep. Yoon Han-hong for information about when and where she received breast cancer treatment, she replied, “Asking for documents about breast cancer surgery is sexual harassment. … How would you feel if I ask whether you had surgery for prostate cancer?”

Liberty Korea Party lawmakers of the National Assembly’s Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs and Startups Committee refused to continue with Park’s hearing, citing her “poor attitude and answers,” along with sloppy documents. They have ramped up pressure on her to voluntarily step down. The hearing was adjourned about an hour after Liberty Korea Party lawmakers held an urgent press conference announcing their boycott of her nomination.

“Yesterday, the minister nominee hearing was adjourned because of the Liberty Korea Party. The hearing did not verify her policies, rather it was like a detective agency and a hearing of Peeping Toms,” said the ruling party’s floor leader.

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)

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