By Kang Seung-woo
Police referred a Mongolian ranking judge to the prosecution, Friday, recommending that he be indicted on charges of committing an indecent assault and violating the Aviation Security Act.
|Dorj Odbayar, chairman of Mongolia's Constitutional Court. / Yonhap|
The senior judge was first questioned on Nov. 1 by the Incheon International Airport Police before he was released. The Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency then took over the case and interrogated Odbayar for nine hours on his return to Korea on Wednesday.
In his first questioning, Odbayar denied the allegations, saying he was mistaken for another Mongolian man who was sitting in the row behind him during the flight to Korea. But in the second questioning, he said he could not remember if he grabbed the cabin crew member's buttocks because he was drunk, according to police.
He planned to leave the country Friday, but police, with the cooperation of the prosecution and the justice ministry, decided to place a 10-day travel ban on Odbayar to keep him available for further questioning, which means he cannot leave Korea until Nov. 15.
The alleged sexual assault occurred when Odbayar was on his way to Bali, Indonesia, via Incheon to attend an Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions meeting.
Transferring to the Bali flight after the initial 90-minute questioning on Nov. 1, he promised to return to Korea before the flight back to his homeland. On his arrival at Incheon International Airport Wednesday morning, he was taken to the police agency for the second round of questioning.
According to police, Odbayar also threatened a Mongolian attendant on the flight, who was helping interpret for him, saying he would retaliate against her when he returned home. He admitted this, police said.
However, the Mongolian attendant does not want him punished, so the case was referred to prosecutors without a recommendation of indictment.
Meanwhile, police have asked Interpol to issue a wanted notice for one of Odbayar's colleagues, who is accused of sexually harassing another cabin crew member on the flight. The two were reported to airport police on their arrival at Incheon Airport, but the police mistakenly released them without questioning in response to the Mongolian Embassy in Korea's claim that the two had diplomatic immunity ― which Korea's foreign ministry later denied.
Police then questioned Odbayar, but could not question the other man as he had already left for Singapore.