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Police to open alleged stalking probe over pastor over Dior bag scandal

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : April 29, 2024 - 17:30

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In this photo taken in February 2023, first lady Kim Keon Hee visits an exhibition presenting the Oegyujanggak Uigwe, a collection of records that explain how to prepare for and conduct royal ceremonies during the Joseon era. (Presidential office) In this photo taken in February 2023, first lady Kim Keon Hee visits an exhibition presenting the Oegyujanggak Uigwe, a collection of records that explain how to prepare for and conduct royal ceremonies during the Joseon era. (Presidential office)

South Korean authorities announced Monday that they would investigate a Korean American pastor named Choi Jae-young, who gifted first lady Kim Keon-hee a 3 million won ($2,295) Dior bag, on allegations of stalking.

National Office of Investigation chief Woo Jong-soo said at a press conference held at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in Seoul that “Last year, Choi was accused of stalking (Kim), and (the police) completed a brief legal review of the case. The police determined that further investigation is needed.”

When asked about the meaning of the legal review, Woo said, “We believe (after legal review) that this case is not a matter for dismissal. We are currently analyzing the actions in the videos and the number of videos uploaded.”

The police have not decided to involve the first lady in the investigation at this stage.

In November 2023, the liberal YouTube-based news channel Voice of Seoul claimed that Kim, the wife of President Yoon Suk Yeol, received a bag worth about 3 million won from Choi in September 2022 and released a video recording of the scene. The video was secretly filmed by the pastor using a camera disguised as a watch, and the bag was reportedly provided by Voice of Seoul.

Accordingly, in January, a conservative group filed a complaint against Choi with the Seoul Metropolitan Agency, seeking to punish Choi for stalking Kim. The Seocho Police Station in Seoul then took over the case from the Seoul Metropolitan Agency.

“We will investigate in accordance with law and principles,” Woo added.