3 more police officers arrested for receiving bribes from room salon owner
Three more police officers have been arrested on charges of receiving bribes from a big-time Seoul room salon owner now under arrest for tax evasion and other law violations, prosecutors said Sunday.
With the additions, a total of 10 incumbent police officers, who formerly served at a police substation in Nonhyun-dong in the affluent southern Seoul district of Gangnam, or at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA), have been indicted or arrested in the bribery probe into Lee Kyung-baek. The 40-year-old is known as the room salon (hostess bar) king in Gangnam's entertainment establishments, which often cater to prostitution.
The three officers arrested over the weekend are suspected of receiving tens of millions of won from Lee over the past five years in return for tipping off him ahead of police crackdowns on his illegal operations, said the prosecutors at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.
On April 18, four police officers who formerly served at SMPA were arrested and indicted on charges of receiving at least 200 million won (US$178,000) from Lee between 2007 and 2010 in return for turning a blind eye to the room salon owner's law violations, including tax evasion and hiring of underage hostesses, said prosecutors.
Three days earlier, three officers, who formerly served in Nonhyun-dong, were arrested on similar charges.
Lee regularly offered bribes to the police officers at SMPA and the Nonhyun-dong substation, said the prosecutors, noting the prosecutors' office will widen its probe to see if more police officers are involved.
According to media reports, Lee runs 16 room salons in Gangnam and was arrested in July 2010 for hiring teenage hostesses and not paying 420 million won in back taxes. Lee was released on bail in September but was arrested by the prosecutors again in July last year. (Yonhap)