Police chief vows measure against officers' cover-up of sex with minors
Christine Kim, June 29, 2016, 10:11 a.m.
South Korean police chief on Wednesday addressed the recent suspicion over Busan police’s attempt to cover up the case in which their officers had sex with underage girls, pledging to punish them. Kang Sin-myeong, the National Police Agency chief, admitted that high-ranking police officials were involved in the alleged cover-up of their officers’ irregularities during a parliamentary committee meeting.
“As a result of the internal inspection, we found that the chiefs of Busan’s Saha and Yonje Police Stations were aware of the case,” Kang told the lawmakers. “It was revealed that working-level officials at the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency also knew about the case.”
The remarks came two days after it was revealed that two police officers in their 30s, who were dispatched at schools to guard students, had engaged in sexual relationship with teenage girls from the schools.
According to the National Police Agency, the police chiefs of Busan’s Yonje and Saha Police Stations were involved in leading the accused police officers to tender resignations without being punished. They also failed to report the case to higher authorities.
Kang said that he has referred the two chiefs to disciplinary proceedings. They had both resigned from their posts with full severance pay in return for their acts being dismissed. Kang said the resignation has been put on hold and that their severance pay will be retracted. The resignations of the two directly involved police officers will also be dismissed to take back the severance pay, he said.
“There was a lack of education and ethics for police officers dispatched at schools,” he said, vowing to expand training nationwide.
The NPA has dispatched six police officers to Busan for an internal probe. It is still unknown whether the accused officers threatened or coerced the girls to have sex with them.
Under current laws, sex with a minor who is at least 14 is not punishable if it was done under consent.