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Prosecutors Widen Investigation into Draft Evasion

Posted April. 28, 2007 03:07,   


The Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors` Office announced Friday that it would expand its investigation into conscription evasion as more reports are coming in over the possible irregularities of companies that have hired employees as an alternative to military service.

“We have been continuously receiving tips through the Internet and phone calls since we launched a full-fledged investigation into the allegations by raiding 58 companies on Wednesday,” an official of the prosecution said. “As some of the informants disclosed their identity and even told the details of corruption, we will carefully look into those claims.”

Quite a few of those suspected companies are alleged to have violated the rules to hire sons of upper class families.

The prosecutors also conducted a warrant search on an additional company on Friday after receiving a tip that strongly suggests the company’s abuse of the alternative military service system. The prosecutors also raided two companies which were not raided on Wednesday, though search warrants were issued along with the 58 companies.

The district prosecutors’ office is considering a collaboration with the Supreme Prosecutors` Office as it has secured a vast amount of information from the raids and more draft dodging cases have also been reported.

Therefore, the existing investigation team, which consists of some 30 people, including five prosecutors, will be likely able to expand its investigation. The prosecutors are expected to investigate over 100 companies, including the raided 61 companies.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors summoned some 20 people working at six suspected companies for questioning on Thursday, including two male singers and nine soccer players. The prosecutors also called in a dozen workers of the six companies on Friday, including four soccer players who were not questioned on Friday, though summoned on Thursday. The prosecutors focused on investigating bribery suspicions and possible privileges the suspected draftees may have received.

“We are not involved in any kind of bribery at all. I think we are wrongfully accused because of celebrities. We worked like ordinary workers. We went to work in the morning and did exercise after work,” a soccer player said after being questioned.

The prosecutors are planning to concentrate on analyzing the confiscated information of the 60 companies, including attendance records, computer files, and bank accounts, without additional summonses on the weekend.

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