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Surveillance scandal grows, key figures arrested

The surveillance schemes of current and previous administrations may have been backed by highly influential figures.

According to reports citing unnamed Cheong Wa Dae and Prime Minister’s Office officials, a highly influential figure of the Roh administration ordered Jang Jin-su and others of the investigation division of the PMO to destroy surveillance reports.

The PMO’s investigation department under the Roh administration is alleged to have compiled large amounts of surveillance reports.

Jang is a former PMO official convicted of destroying evidence regarding the surveillance scheme operated by the PMO’s ethics division under the current administration. The ongoing investigation concerns the later surveillance operations.

As the scandal continues to grow, the presidential office drew yet more fire from the political arena.

Rep. Kim Young-hwan of the opposition Democratic United Party called for Cheong Wa Dae to apologize for alleging that he was monitored under the Roh administration.

“Cheong Wa Dae claimed that I was placed under illegal surveillance in 2003. I opposed the creation of Uri Party but I did not receive any disadvantages, including being placed under surveillance,” Kim said at a press conference on Wednesday.

While Cheong Wa Dae officials continued to implicate the Roh administration, reports that the ethics division of the PMO of the current government also had backing from a highly influential figure.

According to reports, former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan had attempted to restructure the ethics division but had little effect on the operations of the division.

As the presidential office and the political parties add new allegations to the scandal, the prosecutors investigating the case placed former Cheong Wa Dae officials under arrest on Tuesday.

Late Tuesday night former presidential secretary for employment and labor Lee Young-ho and former presidential labor affairs aide Choi Jong-seok were placed under arrest over allegations of bribery and ordering destruction of evidence.

Lee claims to have been the “body” of the attempt to cover up the PMO’s illegal surveillance of civilians. Choi is alleged to have ordered former PMO official Jang Jin-su to destroy evidence and attempted to bribe him to remain silent.

By Choi He-suk
catch table
Korea Herald daum