Three lawmakers were put under formal arrest pending trial on Thursday on various corruption charges, minutes before the National Assembly was called into session, a political development that could have blocked their arrests.
The lawmakers who were arrested are Reps. Kim Jae-yun of the No. 1 opposition New Politics Allinace for Democracy (NPAD) and Cho Hyun-ryong and Park Sang-eun of the ruling Saenuri Party.
However, a local court rejected the prosectution’s request for arrest of Reps. Shin Hak-young and Shin Geh-ryeun of the NPAD.
Responding to subpoenas issued by prosecutors, the five legislators, reversing their earlier positions, voluntarily appeared at court hearings in Seoul and the western port city of Incheon separately late in the afternoon. After reviewing records, the courts issued arrest warrants for them.
The arrest warrants were issued minutes before the one-house parliament was called into session at midnight. Under South Korean law, lawmakers are immune from arrests while the parliament is in session.
The three opposition lawmakers — Kim Jae-yun, Shin Hak-yong and Shin Geh-ryeun — were charged with taking up to 50 million won in bribes from the head of a Seoul vocational school in return for favor in legislation.