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Sat Sep 28, 2019, 01:10 PM

Protestors gather over Cho Kuk "scandal" investigation

Moon warns prosecution not to abuse its authority over justice minister probe
All Headlines 14:17 September 27, 2019

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in stressed the need for far-reaching reform of South Korea's prosecution, responding to a heated political controversy over the way state prosecutors are investigating a fraud and corruption scandal involving Justice Minister Cho Kuk's family.

The prosecution has been intensifying a probe into the case, highlighted by a raid on the minister's house earlier this week.

Critics of Cho and the Moon administration say that the minister is unqualified and that he should immediately step down. But those who support him argue that prosecutors are deliberately leaking information related to the ongoing probe to media in a bid to put pressure on him.

Cho, a former law professor, assumed the post last month with a mission to overhaul the judiciary system, especially readjusting the balance of investigative power between the prosecution and the police.

More: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190927005900315?section=news

In what appears to be a familiar pattern in South Korean politics and society, family relations of the prominent Cho Kuk, may have used his prestige to advance their own interests. His daughter is accused of not being qualified for educational opportunities and credentials she was granted by prestigious institutions allegedly based upon influence peddling. Other family members including Cho Kuk's wife and in-laws are suspected of arranging suspicious investments in a fund used to purchase real estate and to have received funds improperly. Cho has categorically denied many of the specific allegations against his daughter and wife, and claimed lack of knowledge of alleged financial transactions said to involve his wife and in laws.

Cho was recently appointed Justice Minister by the Moon Jae In administration to clean up imbalances and improper influences on the justice system in Korea. This story of alleged corruption has dominated the South Korean headlines as investigative leads, and search warrant particulars are leaked to the press in a manner to dominate the media and distract from other issues, including important international issues challenging the administration. The extensive and probing nature of the ongoing investigation by the prosecutor's office along with the leaks suggests internal resistance to justice reform initiatives desired by Moon, and ostensibly to be initiated by Cho. The underlying political subtext involves the loss of power and influence by the pro-Japanese commercial and political interests traditionally supported by right wing parties in South Korea attempting to recover political momentum since Moon Jae In was elected.

(Source- Daum.net News 1 9.28 구윤성 Koo Yoon Seong reporter ) Candlelight demonstration in support of Cho Kuk in front of Supreme Prosecutors Office, Seoul, South Korea.

The situation seems to have resulted in a serious backlash, as a huge candlelight demonstration took place in Seoul this morning, involving hundreds of thousands of Cho Kuk supporters and advocates for justice system reforms.*

* https://news.v.daum.net/v/20190928185345834?f=m

Some observers have claimed as many as a million persons may have participated. One poll this week showed Moon's popularity rebounding to 48 percent, and democratic party support now above 40 percent, clearly a setback for conservatives from the Liberty Korea Party calling for Cho Kuk's removal and even impeachment proceedings against Moon.

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Reply Protestors gather over Cho Kuk "scandal" investigation (Original post)
soryang Sep 2019 OP
soryang Sep 2019 #1

Response to soryang (Original post)

Sun Sep 29, 2019, 11:59 AM

1. The streets in Seocho Dong, Seoul, are clear this morning but...

JTBC reports that the demonstrations against the Supreme Prosecutors office will continue for weekends to come until the "political prosecutions" problem is resolved.

Hong Choon Pyo, the former leader of the Liberty Korea Party, stated on facebook, that conservatives will mobilize a million person counter demonstration against Cho's "corruption," on the National Foundation Holiday, October 3. It will be interesting to see how many people the minority conservative party could actually mobilize. Their demonstrations in the past few years have been remarkably small in scale, characterized at most by a few thousand people. Hong has a history of making exaggerated claims and contentious statements that led to divisions in the conservative opposition and his political decline. Utlimately this dispute may be determined by decisions taken at the Supreme Prosecutors office, which is proceeding with the investigation of Cho's wife and family relatives related to their investment fund activities.

The prospect of further large scale demonstrations in Seoul is characterized as a political "war of nerves."

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