A Korean businessman has filed a $1-million slander and libel lawsuit against the president of the Saipan Korean Community Association for allegedly distributing throughout Saipan a publication that accuses him of, among other things, multiple rapes and sexual attacks.
Hong Kyun Kim wants the Superior Court to hold Saipan Korean Community Association president Jong Ho Lee liable for $500,000 in general damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.
Kim said that Lee exposed him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and public scorn.
“Lee's sole purpose for committing such vicious and heinous libel was an abuse of power and intended to advance his own selfish interests in the Saipan Korean Community Association,” said Kim through his lawyer, Stephen J. Nutting.
Lee's counsel, Colin Thompson, said yesterday that they look forward to their day in court.
“Truth is always a defense from libel,” Thompson added.
Nutting stated in the complaint that, on Dec. 24, 2012, Lee published on standard newspaper stock a four-page news style publication with the headings “Korean Community United in Faith” and “Saipan Korean Community Association.”
Nutting said the publication was distributed throughout the island and all four pages were devoted to trashing Kim's reputation.
The lawyer said the publication was issued in the Korean language and under the banner of the Saipan Korean Community Association.
Nutting said that, based on information and belief, the Saipan Korean Community Association did not approve the publication and that Lee abused his position within the association to gain credibility for the false and inflammatory statements.
Nutting said that other libelous statements contained in the publication are that Kim caused the theft of a flagpole at the Commemoration Tower in Marpi; committed a mass assault on patrons within a local Korean restaurant, bribed members of the Korean association to garner their support for his candidacy as association president; and failed to adequately contribute financially to the association and the Korean community.
The lawyer said that Kim is well known for his charitable acts and efforts to improve not only the Korean community but the entire CNMI.
Nutting said a number of government agencies, including the Saipan Mayor's Office, has recognized Kim for various public works and his support for an anti-crime program.
In fact, Nutting said, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial appointed Kim as a volunteer special economic adviser.
“The numerous articles composed, printed, published, and circulated by defendant, of and concerning plaintiff, are purely fictional and untrue,” he said.