13 December 2018

Prosecutors raid South Korea's largest law firm

'Peace Statue' acknowledging Japan's sexual slavery

Offices of two lawyers working for Kim & Chang, South Korea's largest firm, over delay of court ruling in Japanese forced labour case.

Prosecutors allege the lawyers colluded with a former chief justice to intentionally delay the ruling in a case involving the forced labour of Koreans when the country was a Japanese colony.

Delayed ruling

According to a report in The Korea Herald, the prosecution carried out a search-and-seizure operation at the offices of Kwak Byung-hoon and a lawyer surnamed Han. The two lawyers are suspected of having aided the court of former supreme court chief justice, Yang Sung-tae, to intentionally delay the ruling in the case where Korean victims filed compensation suits against Japanese companies for forcing them into labour during Japan’s 35 years colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Kim & Chang represented the Japanese companies involved in the suit.

First time for everything

It was the first-ever raid of the country’s biggest law firm by prosecutors. The investigators said Kwak, a former presidential secretary for legal affairs, worked with the presidential office, the National Court Administration and the Foreign Ministry while plotting to delay the ruling. Evidence also revealed that Yang had met Han, a judge-turned-lawyer at Kim & Chang, three times to discuss the case. The Korea Herald added that the prosecutors also requested arrest warrants for two former top court chiefs, Ko Young-han and Park Byong-dae, suspected of aiding Yang in the abuse of power.