South Korea chief prosecutor resigns over scandals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 November, 2012, 12:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2012, 12:16pm

South Korea’s chief prosecutor resigned on Friday, apologising publicly for a series of “embarrassing” scandals that fuelled a top-level feud within the prosecution service.

Announcing his resignation to the media, Han Sang-Dae bowed deeply and voiced regret over recent cases that included one senior prosecutor taking bribes and another allegedly offering a suspect leniency in exchange for sex.

“I sincerely apologise to the people for causing such a shock and disappointing them with such embarrassing incidents,” Han said.

The scandals exacerbated a feud within the prosecution service, notably between Han and a rival who headed a powerful department investigating corrupt officials, politicians and business leaders.

The main opposition Democratic United Party blamed President Lee Myung-Bak for the situation, accusing him of turning the prosecution service into his own “political weapon” by appointing loyalists to key positions.

Ahn Dae-Hee, a former top prosecutor and now a senior aide to front-running presidential candidate Park Geun-Hye, said Han and other senior prosecutors were responsible for their own mess.

“The prosecution has completely lost people’s trust and their moral integrity, ethical standards and job discipline have degenerated to a lamentable degree,” Ahn told journalists.