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1 1/2-year prison term finalized for ex-police chief over online opinion rigging


The Supreme Court finalized a 1 1/2-year prison term for former National Police Agency Commissioner General Cho Hyun-oh on Thursday for mobilizing police forces to spread pro-government opinions online between 2010 and 2012.

Cho was indicted on charges of obstructing the execution of official duties for having mobilized police personnel to post tens of thousands of online comments supportive of the then-Lee Myung-bak administration while he was serving as chief of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and then the National Police Agency.

The mobilized cops operated the mission on a wide range of then sensitive political issues, including North Korea's torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan in 2010 and the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2011, according to investigations.

A district court initially handed down a 2-year imprisonment, but an appellate court commuted the sentence to 1 1/2 years, partially acquitting him.

"Only 5 percent of all online comments in question appear to be in support of the then government's position," the appellate court then said.

The Supreme Court upheld the appellate court verdict. (Yonhap)