2/26/2007

Prosecutor with cancer 'only doing her job'

Korea Herald Feb. 26, 2007

Jin Hye-won, a 32-year-old prosecutor, has been the focus of media attention after it was revealed that she worked around the clock despite having brain cancer.
The prosecutor with the Seoul Northern District Prosecutors' Office underwent an operation to remove the tumor on Jan. 24, just two days before an appellant court sentenced the defendant in the case to eight months in prison and two years of probation. The defendant had originally been acquitted last July due to a lack of evidence.

"I've never seen a prosecutor like her who is so devoted and enthusiastic," said senior prosecutor Ha Yoon-hong, her boss. "I hope she gets well soon."

After she lost the first trial last year, Jin was meant to transfer to an investigation bureau at the office, but she insisted on staying put as a trial prosecutor and pursued the case.

She appealed the ruling, submitting arguments of over 50 pages - unusual, considering appeals are normally around 20 pages long.

She also investigated other cases, often working late.

She had frequent headaches, but did not realize anything was wrong until a doctor found a large tumor in her brain. She underwent an urgent operation and is now resting at her home and receiving radiation treatment.

"She needs to rest for at least two months," said doctor Huh Dae-suk, adding that the surgery went very well.

The 49-year-old plaintiff in the case, a Korean-Chinese man identified as Huh, filed a lawsuit earlier last year against a Korean businessman identified as Kim, accusing him of nonpayment of 35 million won ($37,000).

Huh, who lives in Shenzhen, China, had shipped 5,400 scarves to Kim in Seoul.

Huh wrote a six-page letter to Jin in appreciation of her efforts in the case.

"Prosecutor Jin had revealed the truth of the case with passion as if she was the victim. I really want to thank you for proving my small belief of 'only truth can move the world and people' in the country where I actually came from," Huh wrote in the letter.

Jin insisted she did what she "was supposed to do."

"In the past two years as a prosecutor, I've only lived with a belief that justice should be protected. I'll try my best not to have victims keep suffering from unfairness," Jin said an interview with Yonhap News.

(aibang@heraldm.com)


By Annie I. Bang

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com