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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on June 20)

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‘Political revenge’ claim
: DPK should stop blocking corruption probes

Prosecutors and police are stepping up their investigations into corruption and power abuse scandals involving the previous administration. Such investigations are necessary to get to the bottom of the scandals and bring to justice those responsible for law violations. They are also crucial to upholding the rule of law and defending democracy.

But the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) has denounced the probes as being politically motivated. It has also accused the new Yoon Suk-yeol administration of targeting key members of the Moon Jae-in government. In a nutshell, the DPK has gone as far as to frame the investigations as constituting “political revenge.”

The DPK cannot avoid criticism for trying to block the investigations to protect its members and former government officials. It should realize that the Moon administration had already prevented investigators from digging up the dirt on them by appointing pro-government figures to key posts in the prosecution. It is wrong to launch political offensives against the incumbent government to save law-breaking officials and politicians from criminal charges.

The liberal opposition party’s move came after the police started an investigation into a corruption scandal surrounding a land development project in Baekhyeon-dong, Seongnam City, south of Seoul. On Thursday, investigators searched the municipal building to seize evidence which could prove suspicions that Lee Jae-myung, former Seongnam mayor, was deeply involved in the scandal.

Lee, also former Gyeonggi Province governor and DPK presidential candidate, has also been dogged by allegations that he was involved in a similar scandal related to another lucrative land development project in Daejang-dong, Seongnam City. The scandal emerged as a hot issue in the lead-up to the March 9 presidential election in which he lost to Yoon, the candidate of the then conservative opposition People Power Party (PPP).

Lee then won the June 1 parliamentary by-election in a constituency in Incheon, west of Seoul. His election touched off a controversy as he apparently sought a National Assembly seat to shield himself from any charges from the scandals. During the presidential campaign, Lee promised to come in for a probe by an independent counsel if the prosecution’s investigation fails to clear up the allegations. However, it is disappointing to see his party trying to help him avoid any further investigations.

The DPK’s offensive also came after the prosecution resumed an investigation into a power abuse case in which former Industry Minister Paik Un-gyu allegedly forced the heads of energy-related state firms to step down because they were against Moon’s nuclear phase-out policy. The investigation gained momentum since the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling against former Environment Minister Kim Eun-kyung who was sentenced to two years in prison for forcing 13 heads of public organizations affiliated with her ministry to quit their jobs in 2017 and 2018.

Now the DPK should cooperate with the prosecution and the police to reveal the truth behind the corruption and power abuse cases, instead of attempting to cover them up. Otherwise, the party, which is reeling from its defeat in the presidential and local elections, will face a much stronger backlash from the public. President Yoon, for his part, needs to clearly explain why his government should have zero tolerance for such crimes.
(END)


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Hundreds of stolen cars recovered in global Interpol operation funded by the UAE

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A United Arab Emirates-funded global police operation targeting stolen vehicle trafficking has led to the recovery of hundreds of cars, trucks and motorbikes and almost half a million stolen cigarettes in just two weeks, Interpol announced on Wednesday.

Operation Carback saw frontline police at seaports and land border crossings in 77 countries use Interpol’s secure global police communications network – I-24/7 – to check vehicles and their owners against Interpol’s databases and instantaneously detect potential criminals or criminal activity.

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Interpol launched its ‘Reducing Vehicle Crime and Theft’ Program in 2016 with funding from the United Arab Emirates via Interpol’s ‘Foundation for a Safer World’, which financed Operation Carback 2022.

Since May 2016, the foundation has been supporting seven key Interpol initiatives by donating $52 million over a period of five years, as part of a contribution agreement between the Foundation and the UAE government.

In just over two weeks, Operation Carback led to the identification of 1,121 stolen cars and 64 motorcycles, the arrest or detention of 222 suspected stolen vehicle traffickers, the detention of eight suspected people smugglers, the detection of 26 fraudulent vehicle documents and the seizure of 480,000 stolen cigarettes.

Officers raided chop shops – places where stolen vehicles are dismantled into parts that are smuggled or sold online – with confiscations triggering further investigations into car crime gangs globally.

Interpol supported the operation by crosschecking information collected in the field against its international databases, with Frontex also supporting the European leg of frontline operations.

Experts from Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicles Unit were deployed to key locations to assist national law enforcement with database checks in the field as well as in exchanging, analyzing and acting on operational data.

With the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) typically removed from stolen cars, on-the-ground assistance from Interpol enabled national law enforcement to connect with car manufacturers to identify vehicle origin.

Because stolen vehicles are frequently trafficked to finance and carry out crime ranging from drug trafficking, arms dealing and people smuggling to corruption and international terrorism, the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters is analyzing intelligence gathered during Operation Carback to identify links with other crime areas.

“With vehicles usually smuggled beyond borders and ending up thousands of miles away from where they were stolen, an international operation like Carback is crucial to enabling police to tackle the networks behind global car trafficking,” said Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s director of organized and emerging Crime.

“The main key to the success of Operation Carback is the wealth of information contained in Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicle database, and the fact that throughout the operation police in the field were able to access this crucial data.”

Last year, Interpol identified some 248,000 stolen vehicles thanks to the SMV database. More than 130 countries shared their national data with Interpol, and carried out more than 280 million searches.

The UAE has close links with Interpol and in November it was announced that the country’s Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, of the UAE’s interior ministry, had been elected as the new President of Interpol.

The senior police official will serve the four-year term in Lyon, France.

The new appointment makes him the first candidate from the Middle Eastern region to be elected into the position since the global crime fighting agency was founded in the 1920s.

Read more:

UAE Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi elected as new Interpol President

UAE joins Interpol operation to crack down on human trafficking gangs

Dubai Police arrest international drug lord known as ‘The Ghost’


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Albanian Daily News – albaniandailynews.com

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Albanian Daily News  albaniandailynews.com


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S. Korean police drop case alleging defect in Tesla doors – The Hankyoreh

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