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Police raid Chongryon HQ over alleged embezzlement.

TOKYO, Nov. 29 Kyodo


Police on Thursday searched the Tokyo headquarters of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) in connection with an embezzlement scandal in which a senior Chongryon official has been arrested.

The raid on Chongryon's head office in Chiyoda Ward was the first on the association since its founding in 1955 and follows the arrest Wednesday of Kang Young Kwan, 66, a member of Chongryon's central standing committee.

Kang was arrested on suspicion he instructed top officials of the failed Chogin Tokyo credit union to embezzle about 830 million yen of the union's funds. Kang served as head of Chongryon's financial bureau from 1993 to 1999.

About 20 pro-Pyongyang Korean residents of Japan was in front of the Chongryon head office earlier in the day and the number had swelled to about 400 when some 40 investigators from the Metropolitan Police Department arrived shortly after 9 a.m. to begin the search.

The protesters shouted, ''Stop the unfair investigation!'' ''Go home, go home'' and other slogans as the Tokyo police officers entered the building. The police also searched Chongryon's Tokyo regional headquarters in Bunkyo Ward.

Chongryon is a de facto North Korean mission in Japan in the absence of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

The credit union, which mainly served pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in the Tokyo area and collapsed in May 1999, was effectively under Chongryon's control, according to the police.

The police took Kang away for questioning Wednesday from a Tokyo hospital before arresting him, police sources said.

According to the police, Kang conspired with Chong Gyong Saeng, 64, the then head of Chogin Tokyo, and others to illegally divert about 830 million yen from the credit union's funds in the form of fake loans to 23 firms and individuals from 1994 to 1998.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Dec 3, 2001
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