Comment rigger’s community members under probe for role in opinion manipulation

SEOUL, Police said Monday they are expanding their probe into the massive rigging of Internet comments to investigate members of an association run by the main suspect to see if any of them were involved in the alleged crime.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said they are analyzing the Naver IDs of the association members linked to the currently arrested power blogger surnamed Kim, and it plans to call in anyone suspicious for questioning.

Kim, better known by his nickname "Druking," has been charged along with two other suspects for using a software program to jack up the number of clicks in support of Internet comments on news articles critical of President Moon Jae-in in January.

The incident has sparked a fierce political dispute ahead of the June 13 local elections, as Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Kyoung-soo, a close aide to President Moon Jae-in, is implicated in the case. Opposition parties have submitted bills calling for an independent counsel to investigate the scandal.

Police have expanded the probe to find out if the suspects carried out a similar scheme to influence public opinion before and after the May 9 presidential election last year.

Druking has apparently told police that the suspects got consent from the association members to use their Naver IDs.

Earlier in the day, police grilled the lawmaker's aide, surnamed Han, as a suspect over allegations that he received 5 million won (US$4,640) from one of Druking's associates last year and returned the money after Kim was arrested.

Police said they will decide whether to summon the lawmaker Kim for questioning after they finish the interrogation against his secretary.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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