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[Newsmaker] Democratic Party to bring opposition lawmaker to ethics panel for swearing

Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young said Tuesday the ruling party will refer an opposition lawmaker to the parliamentary ethics committee for alleged intervention in ongoing probes and the use of abusive language.

Rep. Yeo Sang-kyoo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, who chairs the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee, said Monday the prosecution should not deal with the case of a physical standoff in parliament, in which he was involved.

In April, Liberty Korea Party lawmakers tried to stop the Democratic Party and minor opposition parties from fast-tracking reform bills by staging sit-ins and blocking Rep. Chae Yi-bai of the minor Bareunmirae Party from leaving his office.

Following the brawl, the rival parties filed 18 complaints against each other’s lawmakers, including Rep. Yeo.

Rep. Yeo Sang-kyoo (Yonhap)
Rep. Yeo Sang-kyoo (Yonhap)

Rep. Yeo refused to show up for questioning by the prosecution. During a parliamentary audit on Monday, he told the chief prosecutor of the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office that the prosecution should not be on the case as it was a political issue.

When Democratic Party lawmakers, including Rep. Kim Jong-min, protested his remarks, Rep. Yeo shot back, saying, “Block your ears if you don’t want to listen. The Democratic Party only listens to what it wants to hear.” He also mumbled profanities at Rep. Kim, which were recorded in stenographic notes.

Footage of Rep. Yeo swearing went viral on the internet. He later apologized to Rep. Kim, saying he had lost his temper and did not remember the exact expressions he used, but he was deeply sorry.

Rep. Yeo requested his remarks be deleted from the stenographic records, but the request was denied.

Rep. Yeo also said Monday the prosecution should not investigate a complaint that the Democratic Party filed against a team of investigators working on corruption allegations involving Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s family.

Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee accused Rep. Yeo of interfering in ongoing investigations, and slammed him for making “shameless” remarks as a defendant in a case.

“He even swore at a fellow lawmaker during a parliamentary audit,” Lee said, citing his exact words.

“Rep. Yeo does not deserve to be the chair of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. We demand that he immediately step down from the position.”

Lee said the Democratic Party will file a complaint against Rep. Yeo with the parliamentary ethics committee.

“Deliberation will be difficult as the committee has not been organized yet, but it will be recorded in history as a dishonor,” Lee said.

By Kim So-hyun (
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Korea Herald daum