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Ruling party lawmakers questioned on confrontation over fast-tracked bills

Lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea on Monday urged opposition lawmakers to cooperate in police investigation into physical scuffles at the National Assembly in April, as they appeared before police for questioning. 

Rep. Kim Doo-kwan, Woo Sang-ho and Lee Jong-kul of the Democratic Party of Korea appeared at the Yeongdeungpo Police Station to be questioned in connection with violence that occurred in the process of putting reform bills on the fast track in April.

“Everybody is equal before the law of the Republic of Korea. Lawmakers should also cooperate with the summons by the law enforcement agency without any privileges,” Kim said Monday, calling out main opposition lawmakers who have not responded to police summons.

Following physical confrontations that erupted between opposition party lawmakers and ruling party lawmakers in late April, the Democratic Party and Justice Party filed complaints with the prosecution against main opposition lawmakers for violating the National Assembly law and obstruction of justice, among others. The Liberty Korea Party also filed complaints against ruling party lawmakers for assault.

“It was the Liberty Korea Party lawmakers and their aides who stopped lawmakers who were trying to submit the bills in a normal manner,” Woo said, adding it was unfair that complaints were filed against them.

A total of 109 lawmakers -- 59 from the Liberty Korea Party, 40 from the Democratic Party, six from the Bareunmirae Party, three from the Justice Party and National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang -- are under police investigation for involvement in the physical confrontations.

Liberty Korea Party lawmakers who have been called in for police questioning have failed to appear and did not express any intention to appear. Police usually consider forcibly summoning those who fail to appear more than three times.

So far, nine lawmakers from the Democratic Party of Korea and Justice Party have appeared for police questioning.