South Korea's top prosecutor on Monday voiced strong objections to a parliamentary committee's decision to scrap an elite investigation team and said the team will continue its probe into a massive corruption scandal involving savings banks.
Prosecutor General Kim Joon-gyu made the remarks after holding an emergency meeting with senior prosecutors to discuss how to respond to last week's decision by the special parliamentary committee on judicial reform to abolish the Central Investigation Department at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office.
Lawmakers leading the drive accused the department of conducting politically oriented probes.
Prosecutors have strongly protested the decision, saying such a special investigation team is vital to high-profile cases vulnerable to outside pressure and that the decision amounts to "disarming" prosecutors.
The parliamentary committee's move came as the department has been expanding its probe into a massive corruption scandal involving savings banks. Prosecution officials accused lawmakers of trying to abolish the team and block the widening probe.
"We will continue the ongoing investigation into the savings banks" scandal until the end, Kim told reporters after an emergency meeting with about 40 senior prosecutors at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office.
Kim made clear his opposition to dissolve the special investigation team, saying it amounts to "disbanding the Marine Corps headquarters in the middle of making landing attempts."
The top prosecutors said the investigation team has played a role as the main agency looking into high-profile corruption cases while "confronting corruption and massive ills of our society."
"We will follow the people's will on everything, but I cannot accept a future situation where small corruption cases are punished while big ones are overlooked," he said.