Korean prosecutors have raided the offices of two lawyers working for Kim & Chang, Korea’s largest firm, over allegations they colluded with a former chief justice to intentionally delay the ruling in a case involving the forced labour of Koreans when the country was a Japanese colony.

According to a report in The Korea Herald, the prosecution carried out a search-and-seizure operation at the offices of Kwak Byung-hoon and a lawyer surnamed Han. 

The two lawyers are suspected of having aided the court of former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Yang Sung-tae, to intentionally delay the ruling in the case where Korean victims filed compensation suits against Japanese companies for forcing them into labour during Japan’s 35 years colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The report further adds that the investigators obtained evidence related to the litigation by the Korean victims, the prosecution said. Kim & Chang represented the Japanese companies involved in the suit. It was the first-ever raid of the country’s biggest law firm by prosecutors.

The investigators added that Kwak, former a presidential secretary for legal affairs, worked with the presidential office, the National Court Administration and the Foreign Ministry while plotting to delay the ruling.

It was also revealed that Yang had met Han, a judge-turned-lawyer at Kim & Chang, three times to discuss the case. 

The Korea Herald added that the prosecutors also requested arrest warrants for two former top court chiefs, Ko Young-han and Park Byong-dae, suspected of aiding Yang in the abuse of power.


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