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Robbers Get Away with 10 Billion Won From Kim Young-wan`s Home

Robbers Get Away with 10 Billion Won From Kim Young-wan`s Home

Posted June. 23, 2003 22:04,   


Seven burglars broke into the house of Kim Yong-wan and stole valuables worth 10 billion won, confirmed the police. Kim now resides overseas and is believed to be the main suspect who engaged in money laundering for the 15 billion won bribe Culture Minister Park took from Hyundai.

It also has become known that West Gate Police Station, which was investigating the burglary case, wrapped up its investigation at early stages under heavy pressure from the Blue House.

One member of the top police brass confirmed yesterday, "It was an astronomical amount of money. They had to report it to the Seoul P.D. The Blue House coerced them into silence. They could not make any official announcement."

"After the burglary, I got to hear about the case through internal intelligence channels. The station however did not make any report. I felt odd. Later, I found out that the Blue House got seriously involved in the case."

According to the Independent Counsel investigation, Kim reportedly laundered 15 billion won worth in certificates of deposit that Hyundai gave to Park Ji-won in April of 2000. Park was a powerful henchman of Kim Dae Jung and, at that time, Minister of Culture and Tourism.

It is suspected that Park, out of fear of exposure due to the nature of the stolen money, coerced the police to wrap up the probe.

According to the police report, the seven robbers stormed into Kim`s mansion on the morning of March 31 in 2002. Kim`s chauffeur reportedly conspired with the robbers and helped them break into Kim`s house in Seoul. Once they got in, they threatened five family members of Kim with knives, and got away with about 10 billion won, which was then in Kim`s study.

The money was reportedly contained in several bags. For example, 700 million won was in a couple of bags, and another bag contained $50,000. In addition, cashier`s checks were also there.

It was such a large amount of money for an individual to keep in his house. Nonetheless, the police did not examine the source and nature of the funds at all.

More suspicion arises out of the belated police report from Kim. On April 11, or 12 days after the burglary took place, Kim went to the police to make a statement. People are wondering what he did during the interval. Many believe that he received some instructions as to what he should say in the statement.

Supporting the belief is the statement of Kim`s chauffeur, that they did not report it to the police since the money was a bribe.

The suspects spent the cash, but did not use checks and bonds.

Other than the arrested seven, there were two more coconspirators, who are still at large.

On the other hand, the West Gate Police Station explained that "the victim himself did not want any publicity about the case. We did not want it, either. We were going after the robbers. We planned to report it later, but we could not catch all of them, and that was why we did not report it."

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com