Police seek arrests of officials accused in online comment manipulation

South Korean police have sought arrest warrants for former high-ranking police officials accused in an online comment-rigging scheme under a previous administration.

Park Sang-yoong, spokesman for Counsel Huh Ik-bum, speaks at a press briefing in Seoul on August 1. The counsel is looking into an opinion-rigging scandal involving a power blogger known as Druking, some aides to President Moon Jae-in and ruling Democratic Party lawmakers. Photo by Yonhap
Park Sang-yoong, spokesman for Counsel Huh Ik-bum, speaks at a press briefing in Seoul on August 1. The counsel is looking into an opinion-rigging scandal involving a power blogger known as Druking, some aides to President Moon Jae-in and ruling Democratic Party lawmakers. Photo by Yonhap

The Korean National Police Agency said Thursday that it has requested arrest warrants to a court for four ex-police officials, who have been accused of having their personnel make online comments in favor of the former administration of President Lee Myung-bak, according to Yonhap.
An investigation found that police officers posted some 40,000 replies, using fake IDs and overseas IP addresses in the illicit scheme.

An official ordered some 100 personnel to post replies in news articles or online posts on controversial social issues.

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The Lee Myung-bak government was under fire over U.S. beef imports with the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. in 2008 and other issues, including the outbreak of severe foot-and-mouth diseases at local farms in 2010.

South Korean politics have been mired in online comment comment-rigging scandals.

The country’s spy agency, National Intelligence Service, mobilized personnel to post online comments to ensure then conservative candidate Park Geun-hye to win the 2012 presidential election.

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Recently, a group of bloggers has been accused of manipulating comments on news articles during last year’s presidential election campaign to sway public opinion in favor of President Moon Jae-in.

South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyung-soo, one of the close aides to Moon, was accused of colluding with the group led by a power blogger. While Kim denies his involvement, an independent prosecution team has been set up to investigate the case.

Prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for Kim, but a Seoul court refused to grant it last week.

ByWooyoung Lee