SEOUL, A South Korean court on Saturday turned down the prosecution’s request for a warrant to arrest the nation’s chief immigration official as part of a probe into an allegedly unlawful travel ban against a scandal-ridden former vice justice minister.

The prosecution filed for the warrant for Cha Gyu-geun, commissioner of the Korea Immigration Service, on Tuesday on charges including abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

The Suwon District Court dismissed the request saying there is little concern that he would flee or destroy evidence.

Cha is a key figure involved in the alleged illegal process of imposing an exit ban on Kim Hak-ui, who briefly held the vice justice minister post in 2013.

In March 2019, Kim was stopped at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, from leaving the country as prosecutors sought to reinvestigate allegations that he received sexual favors from a local constructor more than a decade ago.

Prosecutors are investigating a complaint that the departure ban did not follow due procedures and that justice ministry officials illegally checked Kim’s personal information 117 times in March 2019.

Cha is accused of approving the ban on March 23 despite being aware that the prosecution requested the ban using illegally obtained information.

Source: Yonhap News Agency