Sunday, March 13, 2011

South Korean team to head for Shanghai to investigate sex scandal

A team of South Korean officials arrived in Shanghai on Sunday to investigate an alleged sex-for-influence scandal involving a Chinese woman and several South Korean diplomats.

South Korean officials said the previous day that the team of officials from the Prime Minister's Office and foreign ministry plans to make the on-site investigation at the South Korean Consulate General in Shanghai from Monday for six days.

At least four South Korean diplomats, including a former consul general, were found to have had relations with the 33-year-old Chinese woman, who allegedly exercised her influence over them to help Chinese people obtain South Korean visas quickly and easily.

The diplomats were also reportedly accused of leaking information such as phone numbers of high-level South Korean officials to the woman, identified by her surname Deng.

Analysts, however, say that the probe efforts in China may face obstacles as Deng's whereabouts still remain unknown and it is not clear whether Chinese authorities will cooperate with the Korean investigation team if it goes digging outside of consular affairs in the tightly controlled nation.

"We will cooperate with the investigation team's probe so that it can promptly wrap up the case that took place within the consulate office and stabilize consulate affairs," said Ahn Chong-ki, who replaced the scandal-ridden former consul chief on Friday. ◦

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