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Senior officials vow to complete reform of prosecution, spy agency, police

This file photo shows Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young. (Yonhap)
This file photo shows Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young. (Yonhap)
Senior government officials vowed Wednesday to complete the reform of the prosecution, state spy agency and police in line with a set of newly passed contentious laws.

Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae, National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Park Jie-won and Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young held a joint press briefing to mark the passage of three bills aimed at breaking up the powers of the three state institutions.

The bills were passed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday after winning approval from lawmakers.

The revised Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials Act facilitates the launch of the new investigative body, a key campaign pledge of President Moon Jae-in.

The revised NIS Act transfers the authority to conduct anti-communist investigations from the spy agency to the police.

And the revised Police Act calls for dividing the police force into national police and local autonomous police, and establishing a new national investigation bureau.

"Under the new criminal justice system, we will aim for a people's prosecution that looks to the people and realizes the justice sought by the people, and not a prosecution (that works) for the prosecution," Choo said.

The minister also vowed to ensure that the prosecution does not abuse its investigative powers and protects human rights.

Park, the NIS director, vowed never to allow his agency to meddle in domestic politics.

"Reform of the NIS has been finally completed after unsuccessful attempts by previous governments," he said. "Organizations suspected of getting involved in domestic politics have been dismantled and cannot be reinstated anymore."

Chin said he will quickly take the next steps to implement the revised police law.

"We will immediately launch preparatory committees for autonomous police at the city and provincial levels," he said, referring to the new local police system, which is slated to begin operating next year.

"We will move quickly to launch the national investigation bureau, which is expected to take the accountability, fairness and professionalism of police investigations to the next level," he added.

At a separate press briefing, Police Commissioner General Kim Chang-yong said he will work to increase the transparency of the revised law's execution by disclosing more of the policymaking process of the police. (Yonhap)