Former Supreme Court chief appears before prosecutors in power abuse probe

By Kim Bo-gyung
Published : Jan 11, 2019 - 11:39
Updated : Jan 11, 2019 - 17:20
Former Supreme Court Chief Yang Sung-tae apologized Friday for “causing concerns” in regard to multiple allegations of abuse of judiciary power during the previous administration against him.

Though he acknowledged that he was to blame for the public’s concerns, Yang said that those working under him had not acted improperly, implying at his innocence of the charges made against him.

“I sincerely apologize to the public for causing concerns due to incidents during my term. I believe that I am solely to blame for what had happened due to my lack of virtue,” Yang said on Friday morning in front of the Supreme Court building before heading to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office for interrogation at 9:30 a.m.


Former Supreme Court chief Yang Sung-tae speaks to reporters in front of the Supreme Court before heading to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' office for interrogation over multiple allegations of abuse of judiciary power. (Yonhap)


“I desperately appeal to the public to trust the judiciary. Those involved in the case did not violate the law and did not work against their conscience while doing their job, and I believe that.” Yang added.

Yang, 71, faces some 40 charges: interfering in politically sensitive cases, such as the suit by Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor, to win favor from the ousted President Park Geun-hye, blacklisting judges with differing political views, and leaking top classified information about the Constitutional Court, among others.

Regarding the first-ever prosecutorial interrogation of a former Supreme Court Chief Justice as a criminal suspect, incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su said “I apologize to the public. For now I don’t think it is appropriate to talk further.”


The Korean Government Employees’ Union hold a rally at the front gate of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office with a placard that read “Stand before the court not the prosecution!” (Yonhap)


Accusations against Yang had placed the judiciary under scrutiny, prompting Kim to request 13 judges to be punished for abuse of power in late June on top of prosecutorial probes into top court justices alleged to have abused judicial authority.

Voicing strong condemnation against Yang, members of the Korean Government Employees’ Union held a rally at the front gate of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office with a placard that read “Stand before the court not the prosecution!” 

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)

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