Power-Blogger Meddled in Cheong Wa Dae Appointments

  • By Hwang Dae-jin

    April 17, 2018 13:08

    Minjoo Party lawmaker Kim Kyoung-soo on Monday admitted that an influential blogger calling himself "Druking" made personnel recommendations to Cheong Wa Dae after helping President Moon Jae-in get elected.

    The lawmaker told reporters at the National Assembly that Druking sent messages to Cheong Wa Dae about his choices of nominees and he passed some of them on. He had so far claimed that Cheong Wa Dae ignored them. But Kim said he did not see the recommendations as nepotism but mere suggestions in efforts to find the most suitable candidates.

    Minjoo Party lawmaker Kim Kyoung-soo talks at a press conference in the National Assembly in Seoul on Monday.

    Druking, whose real surname is Kim, has since turned against the Moon administration and is in custody for running automated software that boosted online comments critical of Moon.

    He has also hinted darkly at wider hacker meddling in the last presidential election.

    The lawmaker on Monday said Druking voluntarily tried to sway public opinion in the past presidential election. He cited one example when the blogger came to the National Assembly to recommend a lawyer for a post at the Korean Consulate in Osaka, Japan.

    Kim declined to elaborate what other specific requests Druking made to Cheong Wa Dae, but added that he "probably posted helpful news articles and made efforts to boost search statistics on [online portal] Naver" to help Moon win the presidential election.

    In April last year, one month before the election, Druking told his blog followers to "voice your opinions, post messages and make telephone calls to protect" Moon. His blog had around 27,000 followers with cumulative visitors totaling 9.8 million by the end of last month.

    The National Election Commission was informed of Druking's activities last May and tried to search a building in Paju, north of Seoul that was registered as his publishing company. But supporters of the blogger blocked NEC investigators from entering, and they yielded without bringing charges.

    The opposition Liberty Korea and Bareun parties have questioned Druking's role in the election and called for an investigation into the suspicions.

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