Staff Bar Investigators from Raiding Cheong Wa Dae

      February 03, 2017 12:40

      In a fresh farcical development in the corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye, investigators on Friday morning squared off against Cheong Wa Dae personnel in attempting to raid the presidential office.

      The independent counsel investigating the scandal obtained a search warrant from the Seoul Central District Court a day earlier and turned up at Cheong Wa Dae at 10 a.m.

      But Cheong Wa Dae staff physically barred the doors and refused to let them in citing "security concerns." A Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said the presidential office is a "secure facility." "But we will cooperate as much as we can by submitting documents upon request," he added.

      One investigator who was still trying to persuade staff to yield said, "Even with a physical clash it seems impossible to search Cheong Wa Dae unless we get into the office."

      Reporters gather in front of Cheong Wa Dae on Friday as investigators from the independent counsel attempt to raid the presidential office. /Yonhap

      In October last year, prosecutors also tried to enter the presidential compound to raid the offices of then presidential secretaries An Chong-bum and Jeong Ho-seong.

      But Cheong Wa Dae also refused to let them in and after a standoff prosecutors had to set up a makeshift office outside and had to make do with whatever boxes of materials staff agreed to hand over.

      Park had previously vowed to cooperate with the investigation by the independent counsel but has lately dug in her heels and tried everything to stall progress.

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