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Police look into drug allegations raised by ex-president's grandson

March 21, 2023 - 17:54 By Lim Jae-seong
Former President Chun Doo-hwan's grandson Chun Woo-won (Chun Woo-won's Instagram)

Police are investigating drug allegations stirred up after a series of disclosures by a grandson of the late former President Chun Doo-hwan, Chun Woo-won, through social media, as well as his own drug suspicions.

The National Police Agency on Monday said it had partially verified claims made by Chun Woo-won, and that preparations were underway to open a formal investigation.

Police acquired a warrant for search and confiscation of Instagram for a closer look into the accused.

Chun Woo-won posted photos of friends and family on social media while claiming they had committed crimes including use of narcotics and sexual misconduct. He also divulged identifying information such as name, school, job and personal histories in the posts.

Chun Doo-hwan, who died in November 2021, took power in a military coup and ruled as dictator of South Korea from 1980-88. He was widely criticized for his role in the 1980 Gwangju Massacre, for which he would receive a death sentence in 1996, though he was later pardoned.

Police have approached Instagram to verify the allegations leveled by Chun Woo-won and to determine whether those accused are now in South Korea. It would ask the overseas social media operator to cooperate with the investigation, police explained.

Police are also looking into Chun himself, after he livestreamed himself taking pills and using a vape pen. In the video he refers to using cannabis, DMT, LSD and MDMA. He later shows signs of hallucination and is visited by local police at the residence, apparently for making a disturbance. The livestream ended as he was dragged outside by New York police.

South Korean police said an official in New York was checking facts about incidents involving Chun. But police here said it was premature to consider extradition from the United States, as they had yet to confirm the facts.

Meanwhile, police denied any reports about allegations of the Chun family having a secret fund, also raised by Chun Woo-won, but said that they were watching the case for developments.