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‘Progressive party members conspired to destroy telecom, oil facilities’

‘Progressive party members conspired to destroy telecom, oil facilities’

Posted August. 29, 2013 06:01,   


The National Intelligence Service and prosecution conducted raids and searches on 18 places, including residences and offices of lawmaker Lee Seok-ki and leaders of the minor Unified Progressive Party on Wednesday.

Starting 6:30 a.m., the state spy agency and the Suwon District Public Prosecutors’ Office conducted raids and searches on homes and offices of Rep. Lee; former party spokesman Woo Wi-yeong; chairman Kim Hong-yeol, vice chairmen Kim Geun-rae and Hong Soon-seok of the party’s Gyeonggi provincial chapter; Lee Sang-ho, advisor to the Gyeonggi Progressive Coalition; Lee Yeong-choon, chief of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions’ Goyang and Panju branch; Cho Yang-won, chief of the social trend research institute; Han Dong-geun, former chief of the party’s Suwon district committee; and Park Min-jeong, former chair of the youth committee at the party headquarters. The authorities also urgently arrested three, including party advisor Lee Sang-ho, former chairman Han Dong-geun, and vice chairman Hong Soon-seok.

In the course of the raid and search operation, assistants to Rep. Lee were in standoff for a while with National Intelligence Service officials, who were to execute a raid and search warrant at Room 520, Lee’s office at the parliamentarians’ building at the National Assembly.

The investigation team said they had a warrant for the raid operation on the charge of conspiracy to stage a rebellion. The charge of rebellion conspiracy is imposed when people conspire to bring the state into chaos, or instigate others to stage rebellion, or when they distribute materials that could potentially lead to rebellion.

The investigation team acquired tape-recording that reportedly contains remarks of Lee instructing more than 100 core organization members to “prepare guns to be ready for special situation,” when he was attending a meeting of Gyeonggi Eastern Coalition’s underground organization, after his election as candidate No. 2 of the proportional representation system for the party in the general elections in April last year.

During its raid and search of the homes of Lee Sang-ho in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, the investigation team reportedly presented a warrant suggesting that more than 130 party members held a secretive assembly at a certain place in Seoul in May, and conspired to destroy telecommunication facilities and oil storage facilities in the Seoul region.

“We launched raid and search operation, because maintaining the secrecy of the intelligence was deemed impossible,” said a member of the investigation team. “We are thoroughly examining the contents of taped recording.”

However, an arrest warrant has not been sought for Lee, an incumbent lawmaker. If an investigation authority is to arrest an incumbent lawmaker, it should take the necessary steps including the National Assembly’s consent, after applying for a warrant.

Although the Suwon District Public Prosecutors’ Office received the search warrant, the investigation is actually being conducted by the National Intelligence Service, which has the right to investigate spying cases.

The Progressive Unified Party strongly protested. Spokesman Hong Seong-gyu said, “The clock of the Republic of Korea has returned back to the Yushin (Restoration) Era 41 years ago,” and urged authorities to “immediately halt suppressing the party in the name of anti-spying.”