S Korean investigators to head to Shanghai over sex scandal
An alleged sex-for-favours scandal has rocked S Korean consulate in Shanghai.
Seoul: South Korea will send a team to Shanghai next week to investigate an alleged sex-for-favours scandal that has rocked its consulate in China`s largest city, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The 10-strong team will include officials from the Prime Minister`s Office, the foreign ministry and the justice ministry and will visit from March 13 to 19, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-Jae.
He declined to give details of the case.
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan apologised to Parliament on Wednesday for what he called "a scandalous affair at our consulate in Shanghai".
Media reports say at least three Korean diplomats were suspected of having affairs with a 33-year-old Chinese woman, who allegedly used her influence over them in seeking visas for Chinese workers.
The woman`s exact role and motives remain unclear.
She was also said to have received confidential information such as the mobile phone numbers of leading members of South Korea`s ruling party and of other high-profile figures.
Former Shanghai consul-general Kim Jeong-Ki was questioned by the Prime Minister`s Office for more than eight hours on Wednesday about how the information was leaked to the woman, Yonhap news agency said.
Three diplomats serving under Kim were summoned back to Seoul after the woman`s Korean husband wrote to the Seoul government in January to complain about the diplomats` allegedly intimate relations with his wife.
They were from the foreign, knowledge economy and justice ministries.
The woman was also said to have acted as a conduit to senior Chinese officials, arranging meetings with visitors from Seoul.
In November 2008, she also reportedly used her influence to ensure that Beijing allowed 11 North Korean escapees who took refuge at the consulate to leave for Seoul en masse.
President Lee Myung-Bak`s government has come under attack from opposition politicians and media for assigning Kim, a political appointee who led Lee`s 2007 election campaign, to the key diplomatic post.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said appointees undergo thorough screening focusing on diplomatic expertise, integrity and moral standards.
"However, we will look again to see whether there is any room to improve" the selection and screening system, the spokesman said.