White paper on crime 2013 Part2/Chapter1/1
The judicial police officials refer every case to public prosecutors, except cases subject to disposition as minor offenses (certain minor theft, minor fraud, and minor embezzlement, with highly mitigating factors, that satisfy public prosecutor’s predetermined criteria by which the referral to the public prosecutors is not required pursuant to Article 246 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and for certain road traffic violations subject to Hansokukin (administrative fine). The number of persons whose cases were disposed of by the police as trivial offenses in 2012 was 88,536 (the number of persons whose cases were disposed of by the police as trivial offenses for non-traffic Penal Code offenses was 88,517 accounting for 30.8% of the total number of persons cleared) (Source: Criminal Statistics of the National Police Agency).
The public prosecutor investigates cases referred by the police or other judicial police officials, including coast guard officers and narcotics agents. In addition, where necessary, public prosecutors institute investigation ex officio or upon a complaint of accusation. In concluding the investigation, they decide whether or not to prosecute the suspect, based on the factors such as whether or not his/her act constitutes an offense and if the act needs to be punished.