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Candlelight Vigil Held for Imprisoned Journalist

January 07, 1998

A candlelight vigil designed to pressure the Korean government to release imprisoned journalist Richard Choi was held Tuesday night after the Los Angeles-based reporter was not set free as many in the Korean community had hoped.

Choi, a radio talk show host based in Los Angeles, was arrested Dec. 19, four days after he reported rumors that Hyundai Motor Co. and multimedia giant Korea Times were about to merge.

He was arrested under a Korean law prohibiting reports that could be financially damaging to a firm.

Rumors that Choi was about to be set free circulated Monday, but proved to be false.

According to sources, Choi's corporate lawyer dropped the "application for a bail," a move that under Korean law would delay a prisoner's release.

Korean community observers speculated that Choi's employer, Radio Korea, fearing a civil lawsuit by its rival Korea Times, wants Choi to be acquitted in a criminal trial. Such a victory would reduce the chances of Radio Korea losing a civil case, sources said.

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