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Comedian Seo Se-weon Alleges, “My Manager Was Tortured by Prosecution”

Comedian Seo Se-weon Alleges, “My Manager Was Tortured by Prosecution”

Posted July. 06, 2005 00:37,   


Comedian Seo Se-weon revealed on July 5 that two investigators of the prosecution had forced a false confession out of his manager, a Mr. Ha (38), through torture during the crackdown on corruption in the entertainment industry by the Seoul District Prosecutor’s Office Department of Violent Crime (currently the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics and Organized Crime Department) in 2002, and that he reported the investigators in question to the authorities on June 30.

This case is being investigated by the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutor’s Office Criminal Affairs Department 1 (chief prosecutor Seok Dong-hyeon).

When the prosecution began its investigation of the entertainment industry in August 2002, Seo fled overseas and then returned voluntarily in 2003 to be taken into custody. He was charged with handing eight million won to four producers working at various broadcasting companies as “promotional funds” for his film “My Wife Is a Gangster,” as well as with evading 380 million won in corporation tax.

Seo received 10 months in prison and two years on probation at his initial trial. He appealed the sentence, but the appeal was dismissed in November of last year, and is currently pending the decision of the Supreme Court. Seo claims that he was found guilty because of his manager’s false testimony.

The prosecution’s interrogation of Mr. Ha was carried out two months prior to the accidental killing of a murder suspect by former prosecutor Hong Gyeong-ryeong during interrogation in October 2002, by the same investigation team in the Department of Violent Crime.

Three of the four investigators who interrogated Mr. Ha are currently serving time in relation to the accidental killing. The prosecutor’s office stated that the fourth investigator, a police officer who had been sent out to take part in the case, has since returned to his post in the police.

In his indictment, Seo alleges on the basis of Mr. Ha’s testimony that “two prosecutors undressed Ha, forced him to kneel, then trampled on his legs and verbally abused him, even threatening to inflict electroshock torture,” a representative of the prosecution said.

However, officials in the then Department of Violent Crime uniformly denied Seo’s claims.

Prosecutor K, who had led the investigation at the time, noted, “I don’t know why he’s making such claims now; he should have made them when he returned to Korea in April 2003 after evading prosecution overseas.” He added, “There’s not a shred of truth to his allegations of torture.”

“When we were questioning Mr. Ha, we had already secured leads regarding Seo’s charges, so there was no reason to forcefully interrogate his manager, who wasn’t even a suspect,” he explained.