Go to contents

Police Agencies Faltering Over Kim Young-wan Robbery Investigation

Police Agencies Faltering Over Kim Young-wan Robbery Investigation

Posted June. 26, 2003 21:31,   


Suspicions have risen over the robbery case in March 2002, in which Kim Young-wan, 50, was robbed of 10 billion worth of property at home. Yet the National Police Agency (NPA) and Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) have been reluctant to announce their investigation results even after they spotted involvement from those in Cheong Wa Dae and core figures implicated in the incident.

“The director of the NPA, not of SMPA, was given an order (from Cheong Wa Dae) and instructed the Seodaemun Police Station on how to conduct the investigation,” said a high-ranking official at the agency. “Despite widespread knowledge, no one dares to come out and talk since those involved have denounced any involvement.”

Recognizing growing suspicions, the SMPA is known to consider whether the investigation result should be announced while coordinating to what extent the probe results should be made public.

Suspicions have snowballed since revelations that the police, during their investigation, did not present the written report of another burglary, committed by a group of three men in July, 2002.

Seodaemun Police Station was told of the second robbery case on July 6, the very day of the incident. A 58-year old housekeeper dialed 112 to report the intruders and Dept. 5, on duty that day, was mobilized.

After questioning the housekeeper, Dept. 5 sent the case over to Dept. 2, which had been looking into the first robbery case in March at Kim`s house.

Even after the two consecutive robberies at the same house, which involved a loss of 10 billion won, the Seodaemun Police did not report the case at all to its superior, the SMPA.

A source said that “it calls for suspicion that such a violent crime, in which a trio of robbers broke through and muzzled a housekeeper, was not reported to authorities.”

Reports do not coincide as to whether Kim himself confirmed his property losses. In an interview with Donga Ilbo on June 25, a police spokesperson said that “Kim, after returning home from the U.S., confirmed that he had nothing stolen on that day and that he didn`t remember.” He then changed his announcement on the following day. “We haven`t received word directly from Kim,” he said.

Kim reportedly left Seoul for the U.S. in late-March of this year, right before the special investigators were designated, and his wife and two children left to the U.S. on a day between the 18th and 22th.

This coincided with when the investigation moved to focus on Kim`s alleged money-laundering. During that time, Park Ji-won, former secretary to the former president, was summoned, and investigators began to examine those who had assisted Kim in laundering money and endorsing CDs.

One of Kim`s aides, known as Yim (46), was found to have left the country with his wife in late-February, before special investigators took over the case, reportedly telling their friends that “they won`t be back until the next administration.”

Huh (53), another person involved, reportedly worked for Kim`s firm as a financial director and cashed in the CDs. He has been missing since mid-June.

Jin-Goo Lee Sung-Kyu Kim sys1201@donga.com kimsk@donga.com