Police chief nominee vows to restore public trust

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's police chief nominee vowed Wednesday to restore public trust in the police after they came under fire for a bungled manhunt for the fugitive shipping tycoon wanted for April's ferry disaster.

Kang Sin-myeong, who currently heads the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA), has been nominated to succeed Lee Sung-han as the National Police Agency (NPA) commissioner, officials said.

Lee offered to step down on Tuesday over a delay in identifying the body of Yoo Byung-eun, a 73-year-old billionaire whose family owns Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co. Yoo is partly blamed for the disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

"Public confidence in the police is under crisis," the nominee told reporters. "(I) will quickly reorganize the agency so that we can quickly restore the people's trust."

Earlier in the day, the seven-member National Police Commission recommended Kang as the single candidate for the post to President Park Geun-hye through the home affairs ministry, the officials said.

The president will then officially appoint the new police chief. Kang's nomination is technically subject to a parliamentary confirmation hearing, though the National Assembly cannot reject the nomination.

Kang, a graduate of the Korean National Police University, took the helm of the SMPA in 2013. Throughout his career as a police officer, Kang earned a reputation for his penetrating insight into different issues and experience in various fields.

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