How Did JTBC News Get Choi Soon-sil’s Tablet Computer to Start South Korean Political Scandal?

It is just amazing to me that Choi Soon-sil would leave a tablet computer with so much sensitive information on it in her former office with no password protection for anyone to open up and check out:

JTBC reporter Shim Su-mi reports where and how she found the tablet PC Thursday night. [JTBC]

In its evening news program on Thursday, JTBC refuted rumors concerning how its reporter discovered presidential friend Choi Soon-sil’s tablet PC in October before anyone else, which proved to be a crucial piece of evidence against her.

Ko Young-tae, former head of The Blue K, a shell company suspected to be headed by Choi, accused JTBC during the parliamentary hearing on Wednesday of changing its statement on how it came to possess the tablet.

“JTBC first said that it found the tablet in a trash can in Germany, and then changed its statement to say that it found the tablet PC among things that Choi threw out of her house after being informed by Choi’s household manager,” Ko said in the hearing. “And then it changed its statement once more to say the tablet PC was found at my desk at my company.”

JTBC Newsroom anchor Sohn Suk-hee and JTBC reporter Suh Pok-hyun on Thursday evening provided explanations to rumors surrounding how the tablet was first discovered by its reporter.

An explanation was provided the first time that JTBC reported on the case, which was on Oct. 24, when Suh said during Newsroom, “JTBC reporters searched one of the offices that used to belong to Choi, and in one of them we found her tablet among things Choi left behind.”

Sohn and Suh provided the same explanation during the program on Thursday evening, and added that the tablet was first obtained by JTBC reporter Shim Su-mi, who visited the office of The Blue K in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, on Oct. 18.

According to JTBC, Shim found traces that both The Blue K and Widec Sports appear to be owned by Choi and found the former office of The Blue K before any other journalists. Shim received permission from the building manager and entered the office, finding a desk and the tablet there.

“The office was on sale for two months, and real estate agents could enter freely,” Suh said. “So the reporter entered an office that was not owned by anyone at the time.”

Shim, in finding the tablet, saw its charger was missing. She bought a charger for the tablet model, came back and opened six files, examined them and left the tablet there, according to JTBC.

She then returned two days later, for fear that the evidence inside could be destroyed by Choi or her confidants. She copied the files inside, and broke the news on Oct. 24. That same day, she handed the tablet over to prosecution.

At the parliamentary hearing Wednesday, a few lawmakers demanded JTBC reveal how it came to examine the tablet in the first place, as rumors that Ko or Choi’s ex-husband, Chung Yoon-hoi, chief of staff to Park from 1998 until 2004, gave it to JTBC.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

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I am a US military veteran that has served all over the world to include in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. I have been blogging about Korea, Northeast Asia, and the US military for over 10 years.

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