Go to contents

Search and Seizures at Medical Associations

Posted May. 03, 2007 03:01,   


The prosecution, on May 2, launched a multi-directional investigation on the alleged lobbying activities of the Korean Medical Association and associates, by conducting search and seizures at their offices.

The investigation department at the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office sent ten investigators each to the offices of the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine and the Korean Dental Association. The investigators seized ten boxes of material, including accounting books, various documents, and computers, among other items.

Park Cheol-jun, assistant prosecutor general at the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office, said, “We conducted search and seizures on the grounds of the additional suspicions toward Jang Dong-ik, former president of the Korean Medical Association, as we proceeded with our investigation.”

In late last year, the National Tax Service urged medical associations to post a notice about their patients’ medical expenditure on such websites as the National Health Insurance Corporation or the National Tax Service, so that patients could easily perform their end-of-year tax adjustments. The three medical associations were outraged by the decision and tried to block the legislation. The prosecution is focusing on the process involved, which appears to be erroneous.

In December 2006, Jang Dong-ik, then president of the Korean Medical Association; Ahn Seong-mo, president of the Korean Dental Association; and Eom Jong-hee, president of the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine, met Jeong Hyeong-geun, Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker, to press for the blocking of legislation connected with the association`s interests.

It came out that Jeong did not give an immediate answer to their request, instead saying, “We have to regard the peoples’ right to know, and it is not good timing considering the current negative public sentiment.”

In relation to the recording stating that president Jang gave 10 million won to Jeong, Jeong explained that the heads of the three medical associations have been urging members to muster financial support.

The prosecutors are thoroughly reviewing the seized materials to identify whether these associations provided financial political aid to other lawmakers or offered bribes to Ministry of Health and Welfare officials.

The prosecution is also engaged in a secret investigation regarding the expenditure of councilors’ associations within the three medical associations. The councilors’ associations are under suspicion of functioning as lobbyist groups.

Meanwhile, Kim Seong-deok, deputy president of the Korean Medical Association, announced that the association is considering the abolishment of its Councilors’ Association.

He also said, “It is too early for us to discuss punishment for the internal informant as the prosecution’s investigation is still underway.”

will71@donga.com pen@donga.com