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Justice Minister Cho Kuk Resigns amid Investigation into Family

Write: 2019-10-14 14:01:09Update: 2019-10-15 09:19:23

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: Justice Minister Cho Kuk has resigned a little over a month since his appointment amid swirling allegations of impropriety involving his family. His tenure was marked by a series of large rallies both supporting him and demanding his resignation. 
Kim In-kyung has this report.  

Report: Justice Minister Cho Kuk resigned on Monday hours after announcing a set of measures to reform the prosecution.

As he left work for the last time, he said he was sorry and thankful to the public. 

[Sound bite: Justice Minister Cho Kuk (Korean)]
"A replacement much better than me will take on the task of reforming and innovating the prosecution. More importantly, I believe the Korean people will finally complete the job. I also would like to thank journalists."

In a lengthier written statement, Cho said his role was only to kindle prosecutorial reform. He said that as he has completed his responsibility, his role has come to an end. 

Cho explained that reforming the prosecution has been a lifelong calling for him as an academic and an intellectual, as well as a goal that he spent a long time contemplating and pursuing.

He said he has run at full speed to push reforms for the past two and a half years as the Moon Jae-in administration's first presidential secretary for civil affairs and as justice minister. 

Cho added that regardless of the reason, he is extremely sorry to the public over the investigation into his family.

He said he realized that he must no longer burden the president and the government with matters concerning his family. 

Cho and his family have been ensnared in a number of scandals since he was nominated to the post in August, including allegations of dubious investments and document forgery.

Earlier in the day, Cho unveiled reform plans for the prosecution, which includes abolishing all but three special investigative units nationwide that primarily focus on high-profile corruption crimes.

[Sound bite: Justice Minister Cho Kuk (Korean)] 
"I will be the 'springboard' for the prosecution's reform. I'm certain that several years down the road, the prosecution will have become an agency centered on the people and their rights. I ask the people to stand by the reforms so that by stepping onto me, we will be able to successfully complete the reforms this time around."

Cho's family has been under investigation by the prosecution even as Cho sought to reform the agency. His wife, daughter, son and brother have been questioned by the prosecution while his cousin once removed has been arrested for embezzlement.
Kim In-kyung, KBS World Radio News.

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