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(LEAD) Police raid construction union office over alleged illegalities

22:40 March 14, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest info in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Police investigating alleged illegal activities at construction sites raided a Seoul office of a construction labor union affiliated with the militant umbrella organization Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) on Tuesday.

Investigators from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency searched a regional chapter office of the KCTU-affiliated Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU) in the western ward of Mapo and houses of some union officials, beginning around 8:30 a.m., to seize documents and other materials related to their probe.

Police investigators search a regional chapter office of the Korean Construction Workers Union in the western Seoul ward of Mapo on March 14, 2023, over alleged illegal activities at construction sites. (Yonhap)

Some KCWU members have been under police investigation over suspicions that they forced employers to hire certain construction workers and extorted money from companies.

Police investigators plan to look into whether KCWU officials colluded or gave instructions in connection with the alleged illegalities at construction sites.

Late Tuesday, a KCWU member, surnamed Woo, was arrested on charges of blackmail and coercion. The Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant for him, citing the risk of destroying evidence.

The court denied arrest warrants for his two colleagues, against whom police sought warrants along with Woo last Friday.

In January, the Seoul police agency raided 14 locations, including union offices affiliated with the KCTU and another labor umbrella Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), as part of its investigation into alleged illegal activities at construction sites nationwide.

Following the January raid, police sent their investigation records on two blackmail and coercion suspects, including one 51-year-old FKTU official, to the prosecution last week.



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