#Hot Issues of the Week l 2019-02-03
South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyoung-soo has been placed behind bars for colluding with a power blogger to sway public opinion online.
In the hearing Wednesday, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced him to two years in prison.
Gov. Kim, a close associate of President Moon Jae-in, was arrested right upon the court ruling, which said the defendant was aware of the systematic online opinion-rigging operation by Kim Dong-won, better known by his Internet alias “druking.”
The ruling said Gov. Kim had seen the test demonstration of the blogger's data manipulation software, King Crab, used to manipulate the popularity of comments in online thread discussions under news articles.
It further acknowledged Kim had approved "druking" to manipulate online comments, receiving regular reports from the blogger.
The opinion rigging is suspected to have benefited the then main opposition in the run-up to the 2017 presidential election.
The court said it would be reasonable to believe that by offering government posts to the blogger's associates, including the Sendai consulate general job, Kim oversaw the rigging operation in close cooperation with the blogger.
On charges of violating election regulations, the court sentenced Kim to a ten-month prison term, suspended for two years.