They used taxes collected from people to operate the government as a fund for their crime ring, a spokesman said, adding that the chief of the group and his cronies worked as the the president and various ministers one after another.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it was seeking to arrest nine members of the "SKY" group on charges of violence and organizing a crime ring. They spent about 370 trillion won from the public purse for the benefit of their group, including holding a series of events and parties.
The group's head, 84, who was identified only by his surname Kim, is believed to have taken the office of President in 1997. After his term ended, other gang members were chosen to succeed him.
He is accused of exerting influence-peddling to make his cronies ministers and place them in various positions of power in the country. "Ordinary people knew they were political gangsters but did nothing about it nor reported it to the police for fear of revenge attacks" a police officer said.
Police are also investigating allegations that gangsters have gained control of councils in other regions.
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