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Panel identifies flaws in 2009 probe into actress suicide

A truth panel concluded Monday that the prosecution did not properly investigate the 2009 suicide of an actress who claimed to have been sexually abused by high-profile figures and that a major newspaper allegedly attempted to influence the investigation.

The panel, however, stopped short of recommending a reinvestigation of the case.

The suicide of rookie actress Jang Ja-yeon was one of the six cases the independent panel, commissioned by the justice ministry, added to a list for reinvestigation in April, arguing that the truth of such cases has not been fully uncovered.


Jang hanged herself in her house and left a suicide note saying she was forced by her entertainment agency to attend drinking parties and provide sex to at least 30 men, including the head of the Chosun Ilbo, a major newspaper. With her suicide note, Jang also allegedly left a list of men she says she was forced to provide sexual services to.

After reviewing a 250-page report on the outcome of a 13-month probe by a special prosecution team, the panel said it could not confirm the existence of Jang's list.

The panel also concluded the prosecution unduly decided not to file charges against some suspects and that probes by the prosecution and police were flawed.

In August 2009, the prosecution only filed to indict the chief of an entertainment agency Jang belonged to and Jang's assistant.

But those alleged to have forced her to provide sexual services were not charged.

The panel judged that it has not identified evidence sufficient to carry out probes into alleged sexual abuses involving more than two people or allegations of injury caused by sexual assault. It only asked the prosecution to reinvestigate the chief of Jang's management agency, identified only by his surname Kim, over suspected perjury.

The inquiry team looked into whether there Jang's list exists, and if there was any outside pressure to close the case.

In March, President Moon Jae-in ordered a thorough investigation into Jang's death and a snowballing drug and sex scandal involving K-pop stars. (Yonhap)