SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) � Police on Wednesday began analyzing fresh evidence showing a power blogger and his crew engaged in the suspected rigging of Internet news comments months before last year's presidential election.
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said they are examining the digital traces of a USB obtained during a raid that show some form of artificial activities regarding comments on some 90,000 Internet news articles between October 2016 and March of this year.
They are trying to figure out whether the comments were deliberately altered in any way by a computer program, just as the blogger, aka "Druking," is alleged to have used a macro program to jack up the number of "likes" or "feel the same way" clicks on news articles critical of Moon Jae-in's government early this year.
The blogger, surnamed Kim, has been arrested over the scandal. Police said they will request a court warrant to force him to undergo questioning, as he has refused to speak to police about the allegations.
The probe into the alleged massive online opinion rigging has sparked a huge controversy ahead of the June local elections, as Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo of the ruling Democratic Party, known for his close ties to the president, is involved in the case.
Druking has claimed he decided to carry out the rigging after the lawmaker turned down his request to appoint two of his acquaintances to government positions. Another associate of Druking has told police that he bribed the lawmaker's aide with 5 million won (US$4,600).
Of the 90,000 articles, police are focusing on 624 published between April 14 and May 9, the day when the election took place, police said.
Other evidence they are looking into include messenger chats between Druking and his crew that reveal the blogger was briefed by his associates on the progress of the suspected rigging activities.
Source: Yonhap News Agency