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Controversy over governor's wife heating up

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By Kim Hyun-bin

The conclusion drawn by police that a disputed social network account belongs to the wife of Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung is growing into yet another political controversy for him.

On Saturday, police announced that Kim Hye-gyeong, the wife of Lee Jae-myung owned the Twitter account that spread false information about her husband's opponents and rivals, including President Moon Jae-in, over the past several years.

Police will forward the case to the prosecution today as a possible violation of Election Law.

However, Lee immediately struck back at the investigation result, and his supporters also held a rally calling it an unjust probe.

"The process to indict Kim is the work of political police to mislead the public and disgrace the couple. We will no longer be deceived," said the group in front of Bundang Police Station, Saturday.

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) said that it needs to wait for ruling by the judiciary.
"They are denying the accusations, we need to watch how the case pans out" said Rep. Hong Ihk-pyo, a DPK spokesman.

But Pyo Chang-won, a DPK lawmaker differed.
"If the twitter user was Kim Hye-gyeong, Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung needs to take responsibility and resign," he said.

The opposition parties including the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LPK) are urging Lee and Kim to apologize to Gyeonggi Province residents. Yoon Young-seok, a spokesman for the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), said Lee and his wife have mocked the public.

A prosecution investigation is expected to be launched against Kim after police forwarded evidence of her violating the Election law and committing defamation on Twitter, investigators said Saturday.

She is accused of utilizing a controversial Twitter account under the name, "Hyegyeonggung Ms. Kim," to spread false information about her husband's political opponents over the past several years.

A months-long investigation by the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency concluded that Kim has used the account since 2013.

In December 2016, when Lee was competing with President Moon in the party primary for the presidential nomination, she falsely claimed that Moon's son Joon-young received special treatment when landing a public agency job in 2006 because of his father's position as a senior presidential secretary at the time.

In April, she posted false comments against DPK Rep. Jeon Hae-cheol claiming he joined hands with an opposition party to better compete in the Gyeonggi Province governor election.

Lawmaker Jeon first sought to reveal the owner of the Twitter account, but stopped his campaign last month. Police continued their investigation after a lawyer and 3,000 citizens signed a petition urging them to continue with the case.


Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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