Police corruption is the theme of the day, as it was previously reported how they are alleged to have helped suppress Choi Jong Hoon’s DUI and a previous Jung Joon Young’s hidden camera scandal. However, there’s likely a bigger tie-in with authorities, and it connects with the ongoing scandals with Burning Sun, Seungri, and Jung Joon Young.
A previously unknown figure emerged today on CBS Radio‘s Kim Hyun Jung’s News Show. While it was previously thought to be the SBS journalist, a lawyer named Bang Jung Hyun was the actual person who sent the KakaoTalk data to the Anti-Corruption And Civil Rights Commission (ACCRC) for the whistleblower, and that the evidence included tens of thousands of messages.
Lawyer Bang Jung Hyun is the person who sent the KakaoTalk conversation data to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on behalf of an original whistleblower who chose to remain anonymous. He explained that he had received an email from the original whistleblower stating that they had gotten hold of data related to the people involved in the Burning Sun incident. They wanted to make the information public in order to seek justice, but they did not know how to and needed help. He said it was his job to protect the identity of the original whistleblower and worried that if he sent the data to an investigative agency (such as the police), they may focus on finding out the identity of the whistleblower. That is why he decided to send it to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission instead. Asked how lengthy the KakaoTalk conversation was, the lawyer replied that it amounted to tens of thousands of messages that were shared across eight months between 2015 and 2016.
Lawyer Bang then talked about why he sent the evidence to the ACCRC, which was due to questions over ties those involved in the chats have with police. We knew that, but he expanded on the specifics, saying that there was an especially high-ranking official who may have been involved.
The lawyer revealed another reason for sending the data to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission instead of the police. After going through the data, he found several conversations suggesting ties with the police. Though he was vague so as to not reveal all of the information, he explained that the conversations contained several messages about certain high ranks. For example, when a situation comes up, someone would say, “I contacted [the high-ranking official]” or “I did [so-and-so] with [the high-ranking official] and resolved it.” There were business-related situations as well as other non-commercial situations. Someone also said, “So-and-so from the police called me to say happy birthday.” “The person in the conversation appeared to be tied with the most influential head of the police, and that led to other ties with other police officers of lower ranks.” At the interviewer’s probing, the lawyer revealed that it seemed to be someone as high-ranking as the Commissioner General of the Korean National Police Agency, but he clarified that he was unsure of how close the relationship between those in the conversation and the police was. The radio DJ asked, “Is it just one person who’s saying they resolved issues by talking to the police, or is it everyone?” and Bang Jung Hyun responded, “One person is saying they are the most closely tied, but the other people are also aware of this. [That one person] is related to Burning Sun.”
Furthermore, lawyer Bang revealed that the crimes that have been exposed aren’t even the full scope of things and there’s more to come.
The interviewer then questioned whether there had been other unrevealed crimes committed in the chatrooms. The lawyer shared that there was, and that he had already reported to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission about it. He further explained, “As you may know, there are many cases that are being investigated in relation to Burning Sun. There’s another case that’s similar to one of those cases.” The radio DJ asked if it was related to a club, but the lawyer did not clearly state whether it is a club or not. He said, “It is, however, related to one of those businesses [run by Seungri].” The DJ asked, “Another crime. Like illegal drugs or tax evasion? Or something else?” and the lawyer responded that it was a crime of a similar nature.
Definitely kinda scary to know that there’s more coming from all this.
And just for good measure, in case there was any doubt, lawyer Bang also added that Jung Joon Young had shared the hidden camera stuff in multiple group chats, including one where the prostitutes for investors was discussed by Seungri.
He added that Jung Joon Young’s messages of hidden cameras were shared in several different chatrooms including the chatroom with Seungri where sexual escort services seemed to be discussed, one-on-one chatrooms, and other group chatrooms.
A summary of what lawyer Bang said can be found below, but the most notable thing yet to be discussed is that the police were pressuring him and the SBS journalist for the informant, making them seem even more shady.
That is an incredibly bad look for the police.
Adding on to lawyer Bang talking about police corruption, the aforementioned SBS journalist Kang Kyung Yoon, who broke this story after receiving the evidence from lawyer Bang, released a report about the ACCRC bypassing the police and sending the evidence to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
After receiving the KakaoTalk data from lawyer Bang Jung Hyun on February 22, the Anti-Corruption Survey and Evaluation Division of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission closely analyzed it for 15 days and transferred it to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, not the police, on March 12. At an interview with SBS on March 12, lawyer Bang Jung Hyun said, “It was data containing connections with several governmental authorities, and I was especially suspicious about the connection with the police. I was doubtful about how justly the investigation would have been handled if I had handed it over to the police.” SBS funE received the KakaoTalk messages and analyzed them. In July 2016, Seungri opened a club named Monkey Museum in the Gangnam district of Seoul. However, the police were dispatched to the club on the day of its opening, and Seungri was investigated for having illegal structures in the building. The conversation talked about the new club and went as follows:
Mr. Kim: I think we’ll hit the jackpot if we just solve the problem with the air conditioner [in the club].
Seungri: Yeah, you’re right.
Mr. Kim: I saw that [CEO Yoo] texted with the “police chief” yesterday.
Mr. Kim: I think the problem with the person telling on us will be solved as well.
Seungri: What did he say?
Mr. Kim: It was really long. Yesterday, another business took a photo of the inside of [Monkey Museum] and reported it.
Mr. Kim: The chief said something suggesting that the other business had told on us because they were jealous and that we didn’t have to worry because he would take care of all of it.
Mr. Kim is the same person that allegedly sent the prostitutes to the hotel rooms when they arranged sexual escort services for business investors. He was also accused of sharing illegal hidden cameras in the chatroom with Jung Joon Young.
That obviously set off red flags for them that this could go high up in the police ranks, but to be clear, they are not sure if that is true yet. That is why an investigation needs to be conducted, and CEO Yoo denied knowing any police while Seungri’s lawyer denied connections as well.
SBS funE states that it is hard to fully believe Mr. Kim’s messages because he spelled “Commissioner General of the police” as another word in Korean that means “police chief.” It is also unclear whether he is referring to the Commissioner General of the police at that time or the Commissioner of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. Further investigation will reveal whether Mr. Kim had falsely reported to Seungri or if they had real connections with high-ranking police officials. SBS funE contacted Mr. Kim and attempted to receive a response, but he did not say anything. They succeeded in interviewing CEO Yoo, who said, “It’s true that I was at Monkey Museum’s opening ceremony. But I don’t know any sources from the police. I don’t know the Commissioner General or the Commissioner of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, and I’ve never met them or been in the same place with them.” Seungri stated through his lawyer, “Monkey Museum received criminal punishment and a fine for violating the Food Sanitation Act before. It is not true that he tried to cover up police investigations.”
Either way, it’s obviously a concern that those in charge of the police may be connected to all this, and Commissioner General Of The Korean National Police Agency Min Gap Ryong addressed the report, promising to investigate.
Min Gap Ryong shared that a certain individual in the chatroom mentioned a “police chief,” saying he “has my back.” However, there appears to be a possibility of the phrase used for “police chief” to be a typo and actually refer to the “Commissioner General of the police” or the “Public Prosecutor General,” as all three phrases are very similar in Korean and the latter two figures are of higher rank. The Commissioner General at the time that the messages were exchanged in July 2016 was not Min Gap Ryong but Kang Shin Myung, who previously held the position. Min Gap Ryong commented, “I will check thoroughly to find out if there was an incident that the police was involved in at the time,” and added, “There is a specific individual who made this comment, but it is difficult to reveal details as the investigation is on-going.” He also shared that a specialized team made up of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Division, which is investigating the Burning Sun case, along with other top investigative teams including the Intellectual Crime Division, Cyber Security Division, and Narcotics Unit, will dive into this issue of potential corruption. He continued, “If crimes are discovered in the process, they will be convicted thoroughly regardless of rank.”
Min Gap Ryong has now detailed what the police will be investigating.
On March 14, Min Gap Ryong, the Commissioner General of the Korean National Police Agency, attended a meeting for the National Assembly Public Administration and Security Council. During the meeting, he revealed further plans to investigate the alleged ties between the police and various controversies involving the club Burning Sun. The Commissioner General stated, “We will guarantee the citizens’ rights to know and secure the investigation’s transparency and fairness. Furthermore, not only will we investigate the suspicions of corruption by the police, but we will also carry out internal inspection and convict those who are confirmed to have committed crimes regardless of rank. In the end, we will announce the final results to the public.” In addition, the Commissioner General also revealed that they will be hosting a nationwide investigation. He explained, “[We will investigate] not only the clubs in the Gangnam district, but also those of similar organizations across the country. In order to eradicate the source of all absurd acts, we will host an extensive investigation in every direction regarding matters such as drugs, sexual assault, taking and sharing hidden camera videos, and connections to the police.” Min Gap Ryong continued, “By deploying all capable police officers, we will pull out the root of the anti-social climate that instigates crime and illegal activities in its entirety.” He concluded, “We will not forget that the police are citizens in uniform, and we will carry out our mission as guardians of safety and human rights. With sincere communication and kind-hearted law enforcement, we will earn trust from the citizens one step at a time.”
Still, it likely doesn’t help the perception of the police that according to SBS, Jung Joon Young was accused of filming hidden cameras last year, but was acquitted without much investigation.
According to March 13th’s broadcast of SBS’s News Briefing, Jung Joon Young was accused of the illegal filming last year but acquitted after the prosecution dismissed the search warrant claiming that there were “no circumstances of him trying to circulate it.”
The police are now raiding a business for records to investigate, but a professor named Lee Soo Jung questioned why they are doing that now and what they expect to find compared to three years ago.
On the morning of March 13, the Investigation Team of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent investigators to a private data restoration business located in Seocho-gu, Seoul and are currently securing the communications records. Professor Lee Soo Jung stated her doubts about why the police are conducting the search and confiscation now and not 3 years ago. Moreover, she suggested that Jung Joon Young may have purposely been given time to eliminate evidence or try to reach out to the victims. I don’t know why they are conducting the search and confiscation now and not 3 years ago. I thought that he would be arrested as soon as he arrived at the airport but they gave him a day. It’s obvious. I don’t see why they are giving him a defense right so that he can eliminate the evidence or attempt a negotiation with the victims. In 2016, he was acquitted without a proper investigation due to the fact that he did not have his cell phone. Because there was no evidence, the crime could not be proved and it was put to an end but it’s basic common sense to secure the phone. I wonder why they didn’t do so.
So this scandal continues to get more and more serious as time passes, as now we’re deep into police corruption being the main question instead of just talking about celebrity involvement.
In that regard, it’s definitely difficult to trust the police at this point, and the lawyer and SBS journalists have proven themselves much more reliable thus far.