SEOUL, Police on Thursday questioned a key suspect in a massive Internet news comment rigging scandal over fresh allegations that he gave money to an aide of a ruling party lawmaker seeking government job favors for his acquaintances.
Police took the 49-year-old, surnamed Kim, who also goes by the nickname "Druking", to a Seoul police precinct with a court warrant.
Police applied for the warrant to force his presence in the interrogation since he had been refusing to meet them in prison. Kim has been under presentencing detention since he was arrested in late March for allegedly manipulating the number of "like" clicks on Internet news comments critical of the Moon Jae-in government early this year.
The scandal has sparked a controversy as Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo of the Democratic Party, a close aide of Moon, is suspected of involvement in the alleged crime. Police have discovered the two Kims communicated via a mobile messenger about certain news articles.
The case took a new twist early this week after Druking's associates told police they gave 5 million won (US$4,600) to one of the lawmaker's secretaries last year. They said the money was paid in return for keeping them in the loop about a request Druking had made to the lawmaker to have his acquaintances appointed to government positions.
Police said they plan to question Druking over the graft allegations, as well as over the nature of the relationship he had with the lawmaker.
Appearing at the white collar crime bureau of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, Druking, wearing prison garb inside a jacket and a mask, refused to take any questions from reporters.
Police announced Wednesday they found more digital traces left by Druking and his crew that indicate some form of artificial cyber activities in 90,000 news articles.
Source: Yonhap News Agency