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senior prosecutors-resignation

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SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- Four high-ranking prosecution officials offered to resign Monday, signaling a major reshuffle of chief posts within the organization.

Choi Gyo-il, the chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office; Kim Hong-il, the chief of the Busan High Prosecutors' Office; Lee Chang-se, the head of the Korea Immigration Service under the Ministry of Justice; and Song Hai-eun, the vice chief of the Judicial Research and Training Institute, tendered their resignations to the ministry.

"Now is the best time for me to step down as (the prosecution) is starting over with a new prosecutor general," Choi said in a release.

The 51-year-old Choi, who is a graduate of Korea University with a bachelor's degree in law, passed the state judicial examination in 1983. He has been heading the office since August 2011.

It is an unspoken tradition within the South Korean prosecution that when one is promoted to the top prosecution post, others who joined the prosecution the same year or earlier must step down.

Chae Dong-wook, the nominee for the top prosecution post, joined the prosecution in 1984 while four others joined a year later, meaning that the four do not necessarily need to resign in compliance with the tradition.

Their resignations are likely to be triggered by the motive to give promotion opportunities to junior prosecutors, a prosecution official said.

Their successors are expected to be decided sometime next week, according to sources at the prosecution and the ministry.

The decision will come after the nominee for the top prosecution post is formally appointed, they added.

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