Three out of five lawmakers wanted on corruption and election law violation charges were arrested late Thursday minutes before the National Assembly was called into an extra session at midnight that would have given them immunity from arrest.
The lawmakers who were arrested are main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy representative Kim Jae-yun and ruling Saenuri Party representatives Cho Hyun-yong and Park Sang-eun.
However, a local court rejected the prosecution's request to arrest two other lawmakers from the main opposition party.
Kim Jae-yun is charged with taking up to around 50-thousand U.S. dollars in bribes from the head of a Seoul vocational school in return for favors in getting legislation passed.
The ruling party's Cho Hyun-yong is suspected of taking bribes worth more than 150-thousand dollars from a railway parts supplier in return for awarding the firm private company contracts since August 2008.
Park Sang-eun has been under suspicion of taking nearly 600-thousand dollars from his former company, in violation of the political funding law and covering up his illegal funds.
Advocates of the government's anti-corruption drive say these arrests show the government is more than willing to track down cases of corruption and punish those involved.
The government pledged to eradicate corruption in the wake of April's ferry accident as it was found that corrupt and collusive ties between government officials and businesses played a large role in the sinking.
It's a double edged sword though, if these lawmakers are found guilty, it'll show that representatives in the National Assembly have taken large sums of money from people, organizations and private companies in return for influence in parliament.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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