Actor Threatened by Organized Crime Boss

Prosecutors are looking into allegations by actor Kwon Sang-woo that he was threatened by Kim Tae-chon, the godfather of a crime gang.

The actor's agency says the actor was planning an event to meet fans in Japan with an acquaintance, but when things failed to work out smoothly the acquaintance asked Kim to threaten the actor on his behalf. The gangster heard from the unnamed acquaintance about the difficulties with the project and then rang Kwon threatening him and asking "Why don't you keep your promises?"

The actor first filed a complaint against Kim in May, and presented himself to investigators on three occasions to give testimony. Kwon's lawyer said Kwon only made a verbal complaint but failed to file written charges. "At the end of September, Kwon and the defendant came to a settlement," the lawyer added. But prosecutors say even if the two sides have kissed and made up, a threatening phone call needs no complainant for an investigation to get under way.

There are suspicions that Kim has partnered with Japan's Yakuza in dealing with the activities of Korean celebrities in Japan. As a result, the affair could have greater repercussions since prosecutors will also be looking for evidence of any Yakuza involvement.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 10, 2006 12:18 KST