The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] Police: Gyeonggi governor’s wife owner of Twitter account that attacked rivals

By Claire Lee

Published : Nov. 18, 2018 - 17:20

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Police concluded on Saturday that the wife of Lee Jae-myung, the controversial governor of Gyeonggi Province, is the owner of an abusive Twitter account that was mobilized to attack Lee’s political rivals, adding yet another layer to the scandal-ridden politician’s tumultuous career.

After a monthslong investigation, police said Kim Hye-gyeong, the wife of the Gyeonggi governor, is indeed the owner of the infamous Twitter account dubbed “Hyegyeonggung Ms. Kim.” 

Authorities believe that Kim has posted thousands of political tweets using the account in support of her husband since 2013, many of them containing false information about Lee’s rivals, including President Moon Jae-in. In doing so, police say, Kim violated the nation’s election and defamation laws.

Police said they would hand over the case to the prosecution on Monday. 

Kim Hye-gyeong, the wife of the Gyeonggi governor Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap) Kim Hye-gyeong, the wife of the Gyeonggi governor Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)

According to the police, Kim used her Twitter account to spread false information about President Moon’s family in 2016, when her husband was competing against Moon in the Democratic Party’s primary race for the party’s presidential nomination.

At the time, she claimed that Moon’s son, Joon-yong, had been offered a position at a government agency in 2006 on the back of his father’s influence. Moon, who won the party’s primary against Lee in 2016, had been senior presidential secretary to the late President Roh Moo-hyun at the time.

The allegations against Moon’s son were confirmed false.

In April, Kim also falsely accused Rep. Jeon Hae-cheol of the ruling Democratic Party of secretly collaborating with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party during the ruling party’s primary race before the Gyeonggi gubernatorial election earlier this year. Those allegations also turned out to be false.

Jeon, who lost the ruling party’s nomination for the gubernatorial election to Lee in April, publicly stated that Lee’s wife might be the owner of the Twitter account in question.

With the account, Kim also mocked and insulted the grieving families of the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster victims, as well as the late President Roh Moo-hyun, police said.

Responding to the police announcement, Lee said he could not accept the results of the investigation, and he insisted that his wife was not the owner of the Twitter account.

“I’m deeply despaired by the fact that our police are engaged in a low form of politics, not investigation,” he wrote in a statement posted on his Facebook account.

“Even if one claims a deer is a horse, a deer will always remain a deer. No matter what happens, I will focus on the governance (of Gyeonggi Province).”

Lee has not made any public appearances since the police made their announcement on Saturday. Although he is an avid social media user, Lee has not made any remarks aside from his statement on Facebook.

Lee faced a number of other allegations both before and after being elected Gyeonggi Province governor.

In June, the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party filed a complaint against Lee, alleging that he abused his political authority in 2012 while he was mayor of Seongnam to institutionalize his older brother, Jae-sun, in a mental hospital without his consent.

The party also claims that Lee lied during the gubernatorial election campaign earlier this year, by denying allegations that he had had an affair with actress Kim Bu-seon. He once accused the actress of being a “pathological liar.”

The actress, meanwhile, has filed a defamation suit against Lee, claiming that she had an affair with Lee in 2009 and that he misrepresented himself as a single man at the time.