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Search and Seizures Conducted at Police Agencies Involved in Hanwha Case

Search and Seizures Conducted at Police Agencies Involved in Hanwha Case

Posted June. 08, 2007 04:36,   


On June 7, Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office special investigation team, which is investigating the suspicion of outside pressure on Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon’s “revenge” assault case, conducted a search and seizure at the metropolitan investigation team of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, Seoul Namdaemun police station, and Namdaemun station’s branch at Taepyeongro.

Such an investigation is very rare and it has caused outcry from the police who believe their “Pride has been stepped on.”

Police Embarrassed by Seizure and Search–

The branch at Taepyeongro sent out policemen after receiving a 112 report on March 8 when the assault occurred, and the metropolitan investigation team was the first police team that investigated the case secretly. The Namdaemun police station is suspected of having deliberately procrastinated after taking over the case.

About ten prosecutors and investigators were sent out around 11:00 a.m. to conduct the search and seizure.

They secured about five boxes of documents and ten computers in a two and half hour search. Policemen in the metropolitan team looked embarrassed when the team of prosecutors and investigators appeared unexpectedly. After they left, the team’s executives had a meeting to discuss countermeasures.

The prosecutors raided the metropolitan team because they were informed that the team made a record of the victims’ statements in the process of its secret investigation, which they are rumored not to have handed over to the Namdaemun station.

A source in the metropolitan team said, “Maybe, they want to know whether there were any inappropriate transactions between us and Hanwha. Nothing will come out, however, since there was not such a transaction.”

Watching the prosecutors searching their workspace, policemen at the Namdaemun police station looked bewildered, saying, “This was most unexpected.”

One of the investigators said, “We did not seize much but secured related files from their computers using special equipment.”

Policemen Involved To Be Summoned Next Week-

The prosecutors’ decision to conduct a search and seizure was made to investigate why the police investigation had revealed nothing for roughly forty days after the case was reported.

The prosecutors’ investigation aims at revealing any cover-up attempts, bribes or outside pressure. The police’s own inspection did not clarify why the assault case was not reported to the upper level, even when policemen were sent out, how the case was taken over by the Namdaemun police station, and why a police lieutenant in the metropolitan investigation team did not hand the victims’ statements in to the police station.

Prosecutors are planning to summon those involved, including former and current police executives, after they confirm basic facts through a communication enquiry.

Prosecutors Discontent with Court-

Prosecutors requested a communication enquiry concerning 33 people involved at the end of last month, but the court only gave them partial permission for enquiry to check whether they made calls to each other.

On June 6, prosecutors requested an enquiry of the complete records of calls made between March 8 and May 11, the day when Chairman Kim was arrested, by five key figures involved, including former Namdaemun station investigation department chief, Kang Dae-won, and former Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency investigation unit chief, Kim Hak-bae.

In a briefing session held on June 7, Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office 1 vice-chief, Park Cheol-jun, expressed his discontent with the court, saying, “Sometimes, it is not clear whether the judge belongs to a justice agency or to an investigation agency.” He added, “We cannot understand why the court had to turn down our request of a communication enquiry. We are sorry that it put a stop to our quick investigation and clarification of suspicions.”

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