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Special counsel demands 7-year prison term for blogger in opinion rigging trial

Special prosecutors requested a Seoul court Wednesday to sentence a blogger to seven years in prison for his role in a massive manipulation of Internet news comments to benefit the ruling Democratic Party in the lead up to the 2017 presidential election.

The sentence demand was made to the defendant, Kim Dong-won, known also by his online nickname, Druking, who is charged with tampering with news comments to sway the vote for the DP, the then main opposition party, before the May 9 election. 

Kim Dong-won, also known also by his online nickname Druking(Yonhap)
Kim Dong-won, also known also by his online nickname Druking(Yonhap)

Special Counsel Huh Ik-bum accuses Kim and his crew of using a program to jack up the number of "likes" clicks on comments attached to news articles about the then frontrunner Moon Jae-in and his party.

The scandal has drawn heated attention in South Korea as it has implicated two influential politicians -- South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo and late veteran politician Roh Hoe-chan. Roh jumped to his death amid the special counsel's investigation into the case.

Delivering its sentence demand, the special counsel defined Kim's charges as "serious crimes that have undermined the foundation of democracy and which are therefore unacceptable."

Gov. Kim is also standing a separate trial over the scandal.

The special counsel is also due to deliver its sentence demand for Kim in the same court on Friday. (Yonhap)