KOREA - The disgraced chief prosecutor of Jeju Island quit amid allegations of lewd public behaviour, the Justice Ministry said Monday.
Kim Soo-chang, the 52-year-old chief of Jeju District Prosecutors' Office, recently submitted his resignation following his arrest last week for allegedly masturbating at a local restaurant, according to ministry officials. His resignation was accepted and Kim was driven out of his post under the internal regulatory action of the ministry.
"The allegations were on the personal level and unrelated to his duties, but we felt it was inappropriate for him to continue serving (as a chief prosecutor) while an investigation concerning him is going on," the ministry said in a statement.
Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn urged Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
Last Wednesday, the top Jeju prosecutor was taken into custody by local police, who received reports that a middle-aged man was masturbating at a local restaurant. Officers found Kim sitting at the cited venue before he appeared to flee as a police car approached him.
The CCTV footage of the scene showed a middle-aged man apparently conducting the cited behaviour, but police said the quality of the video was too poor to properly identify him.
Police said they will reveal the identity of the man in the footage immediately after the National Forensic Service has finished studying it, which is presumed to take another two or three days.
Kim has claimed he is innocent and that police mistook him for the actual culprit who was wearing similar clothing. He had even offered to resign if his position as the top prosecutor of Jeju would "hinder the investigation.
"I was just taking a walk outside my office when police stopped the (patrol) car. The CCTV footage will clear things out," Kim told the police.
The suspicion, however, was fueled when it was revealed Kim initially gave a fake name ― his brother's ― to the investigators when he was first apprehended. He said it was an attempt to avoid public disgrace, but maintained that he was innocent.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)