sex scandal-drug use

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- Police investigating the possible sex bribery scandal invloving high ranking officials now suspect illegal substances may have been used by those who frequented the villa where the events took place, sources said Saturday.

The scandal has forced Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui to step down Thursday, with speculations abounding that other public figures may be implicated, including high ranking police officers. Kim, who claimed his innocence, may have visited the villa located in Wonju 132 kilometers east of Seoul. The villa is owned by a 52-year-old construction contractor identified only by his surname Yoon.

There have been numerous media reports that sex parties took place at the villa, and that the events were filmed in secret by Yoon and kept on CD so he could exert influence later on or use them as a blackmail tool.

Investigators assigned to the case said they started looking into the use of drugs because the businesswoman who originally blew the whistle on the illegal events claimed in November that she was drugged and raped.

The woman told officers that Yoon, after the initial rape, forced her to offer sexual favors to guests.

Police so far said they have no hard proof to back up her story, yet they acknowledged there seems to be a steady stream of testimonies and clues that point in that direction.

They confirmed that they found Lorazepam, a controlled substance, in Yoon's car and had directed both the woman and Yoon to receive toxicology tests by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. The woman tested posited for drugs, but the police have not yet charged anyone with rape.

Reflecting the possibility that drugs may have been used, police said they have ordered that all people implicated in the case -- including Yoon, his nephew and an unidentified person who may have provided the controlled substances to the contractors -- are not to leave the country. The suspects are being checked for violating the country's Narcotics Control Act and could be charged with illegal gambling, as people may have bet up to one hundred million won at informal card games that took place at the villa.

Meanwhile, insiders said that police may start questioning all people who were on Yoon's guest list. A total of 10 people may be summoned for questioning.

However, they said that the video images they have confiscated were of bad quality, which makes it difficult to identify the people shown.

"It may take some time to look at all the evidence as well as collect the data out of a notebook computer owned by Yoon's nephew, which may contain relevant information," an official said.

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