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Cheong Wa Dae Involved in the Cover Up of 10 Billion Won Robbery

Cheong Wa Dae Involved in the Cover Up of 10 Billion Won Robbery

Posted June. 27, 2003 21:39,   


During the investigation of the 10 billion won robbery case from the house of Kim Young-wan, the money laundering suspect for Hyundai Group`s illicit fund of 15 billion won, the police were found to have attempted a cover-up. This has led to the claim that the police acted like a private force for certain high ranking officials. The police also said that it was police lieutenant Park Jong-i, dispatched to the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, not Park Ji-won, then policy advisor to the president, who was involved in the case.

Suspicions however have surfaced that high ranking government officials would be involved in the cover up of the robbery as the highest-ranking police officers tried to hide the robbery case from the public.

Announcing the investigation, Im Sang-ho of the National Police Agency said that Kim Young-wan met police officer Park Jong-I at the Hilton Hotel after the robbery to ask Park to investigate the case secretly.

Park, the police said, then met then director of the investigation division Lee Seung-jae with the National Police Agency and asked him to recommend the right person for the investigation. Park also asked Lee to keep the robbery case at a low profile. Lee called the director of the crime investigation unit Lee Jo-hun with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and Lee Jo-hun authorized the crime investigation unit at Seodaemun police station to take charge of the robbery case.

The unit didn`t report the case during the investigation. They investigated the case at a hotel known only as O, in Pyeongchang-dong, not letting the case be leaked to the public.

Police officer Park called the chief of the unit 2 or 3 times to let him know how the investigation was proceeding. He even arranged a meeting between the chief and Kim Young-wan at Cheong Wa Dae.

Then head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency was also found to have called the head of Seodaemun police station to make sure that the robbery case was secret as Cheong Wa Dae was involved in the case.

The police investigated the case secretly without documentation to the proper chain of command. This has provoked criticism that the police acted like the private police of Kim Young-wan.

The National Police Agency said that an outside agency or person had not called to put pressure on the National Police Agency regarding the case. It announced that the agency would launch an investigation into the omission of certain documentation of the reported bribery scandal.

Those involved in the case have all said before that they didn`t know about the case and they were never involved. High ranking police officers at Seodaemun police station all said that they took the case as they got the phone call about the robbery and there was no pressure from Cheong Wa Dae. Now it has become clear that they coordinated their answers in advance.

During the investigation at O Hotel in Pyeongchang-dong, police officers were found to have had drinks with suspects. This meeting is currently being scrutinized by the police.

Hoon Lee Jin-Goo Lee dreamland@donga.com sys1201@donga.com