Supporters of President Park Geun-hye march opposing her impeachment near Seoul City Hall on Feb. 11. A South Korean presidential candidate who has supported her impeachment says informants in the government should receive better protection. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A South Korean presidential candidate known for his left-leaning populist views is proposing a government-run operation similar to WikiLeaks, the international organization that publishes classified information on its website.
Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam and a politician with the liberal Minjoo Party of Korea, appeared to be suggesting a new policy, South Korean news service Money Today reported.
Lee, 52, said South Korean government staffers who leak information to the press should be protected before they are fired.
A South Korean version of WikiLeaks could allow leakers to protect their identities while divulging information to the public, Lee said.
In a Facebook post published Wednesday the candidate wrote, "The reality is brave informants are suffering every day, without receiving proper protection."
The South Korean mayor said officials with the country's auditing agency and journalists who exposed Samsung's ties to a presidential corruption scandal or uncovered "absentee ballot fraud" in the military are not receiving proper protection.
A website that allows people to report incidents of corruption anonymously could protect them, Lee said.
The site would protect the informer's personal information, assign the person a new email account, and allow them to provide the information directly to the government through a presidential "hotline," Lee said.
Lee has been outspoken about bribery allegations centered on Samsung, the top South Korean conglomerate, and its ties to a corruption scandal involving an influential friend of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, an event that culminated in Park's impeachment.
Lee has slipped significantly in the polls, and trails behind front-runner Moon Jae-in, who is leading with 33 percent, according to a Gallup Korea poll conducted last week.
Governor of South Chungcheong province Ahn Hee-jung was second in the polls at 22 percent, and Lee ranked fifth at 5 percent.