South Korean liberal political icon found dead amid bribery probe

Roh Hoe-chan, floor leader of the minor opposition Justice Party, returning home at Incheon airport, west of Seoul, from a six-day trip to meet U.S. congressional leaders and senior government officials for talks on bilateral security and economic issues. Roh jumped to his death on July 23 amid an investigation into allegations that he accepted illegal political funds. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, July 23 (UPI) —¬†A South Korean liberal party politician under investigation for bribery was found dead on Monday.

The body of Roh Hoe-chan, floor leader of the liberal Justice Party, was found Monday morning at an apartment complex in central Seoul, police said.

The police found a jacket with Roh’s wallet, identification card and a suicide note. Roh is believed to have jumped from a window on a stairway between the 17th and 18th floor of an apartment building.

In the note, Roh admitted to having received money from people related to a blogger named Druking, a central figure in the opinion rigging scandal, but said it had nothing to do with illicit political requests. Roh also wrote he’s sorry to his family.

Roh has been under an investigation over allegations that he accepted 50 million won ($44,000) in 2016 from figures related to a blogger known by the nickname Druking.

The presidential Blue House offered condolence to Roh and his family.

“A sad tragedy happened this morning,” presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said to reporters, Hankyoreh reported. “We hope Roh rests in peace,” he said.

Kim said President Moon Jae-in canceled his morning schedule.

The special investigation team, formed to look into the opinion rigging scandal, also released a statement of condolence on Monday morning.

“Our hearts are filled with sorrow upon hearing the news about Roh who has made a milestone in the country’s political history and spearheaded political activism,” said Heo Ik-beom, prosecutor of the special investigation team at a press conference, Chosun reported.

Roh, a devoted labor activist, rose to a progressive political icon by launching and leading a minority Justice Party and winning local parliamentary elections three times.


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