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Police seek probe of officers allegedly involved in political interference

An internal inquiry team at the National Police Agency on Wednesday requested an investigation of police officers suspected of involvement in massive political interference and illegal surveillance under the past Lee Myung-bak government.

After a three-month inquiry, the team discovered some 130 documents related to possible engagement of police officers from the NPA’s intelligence bureau in various political maneuvers aimed at cracking down on left-leaning organizations while supporting right-wing groups, they said.

Of the papers, 60 documents are believed to have been briefed to then-President Lee, while the rest are presumed to have been written up by police for their own record-keeping.

Police said they will consult state prosecutors to decide who will take charge in the investigation. 



Wednesday’s briefing to media came hastily after Rep. Jeon Hae-cheol of the ruling Democratic Party, known for his close ties to President Moon Jae-in, revealed in a TV news interview Tuesday that the documents likely contained proof that police had secretly surveilled late President Roh Moo-hyun, Lee’s predecessor, apparently at the behest of the Lee government.

Roh took his own life in 2009, about a year after he left office, amid a prosecution investigation into a corruption scandal involving his family. Jeon and President Moon, Roh’s former chief of staff, both represented him during the investigation.

In the briefing, the NPA issued an apology for “failing to set right values of protecting human rights and political neutrality,” and vowed full cooperation in the forthcoming investigation.

The fact that such documents exist was first made known in late January when prosecutors found the document copies during a raid at the underground storage of a building tied to former President Lee.

Lee was indicted in April over a string of corruption charges and has been under presentencing detention. Lee has denied all charges and insisted the probe is political revenge by Moon for Roh’s death. (Yonhap)

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