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[Reporter`s view] Prosecutors sacrifice duty for politics

[Reporter`s view] Prosecutors sacrifice duty for politics

Posted November. 21, 2000 14:42,   


During the reign of Lee Sung-Gye, marking the establishment of the Chosun Dynasty, he led a religious persecution and ordered all Buddhist monks rounded up.

According to Lee Sung-Gye's order, a constable from a distant province arrested a certain monk and was brining him to Seoul. While on the way to Seoul, the monk took out pieces of gold and suggested to the constable: "These will not be of any use to me in jail. Let us drink and enjoy ourselves."

The monk and the constable stopped off at a pub and had their fill. As they started off for Seoul, the monk suggested they take a short nap under the shade until the alcohol wore off. The constable agreed and fell asleep as soon as he laid himself down. The monk quickly took out a knife, shaved the head of the constable, put his clothes on the sleeping man, and made his escape.

As the sun set and a cool breeze swept through, the constable awoke. He saw a reflection of himself in the pond and mumbled: "Hmmm. The monk is here, but where is the constable?"

As the bill for the impeachment of the Prosecutor-General was on the agenda Nov. 17 at the National Assembly, a number of prosecutors made their appearance at the National Assembly Building. Most were from the Taejon area, some belonging to the court and others to the district prosecutor's office in Taejon.

Why had they come to the National Assembly? Did they come of their own free will? Or did someone send them? If so, who and why?

Although they might have felt that the impeachment was an injustice and worsens the already difficult position of the prosecutors, did it truly require them to make such appearance politically? In the past, there were many prosecutors who said, "I may die of hunger, but I will not be fed from hands which are corrupt (related to politics)."

It was the prosecutors who so longed for political neutrality and independence, more so than any others. The Prosecutors' Office has evaded impeachment, but it has been shamed. The constable who had become a monk symbolizes those who have lost their sense of duty and understanding of their position and responsibility.

Did many see the wretched constable in the faces of the prosecutors who made their appearance where they should not have? With the audit and inspection of the public officials set to begin soon, it seems the prosecutors need to scramble and rediscover their true identity.

Lee Soo-Hyung sooh@donga.com