Geum Yi

President Park says no mercy for corruption after bribery scandal

April 15, 2015
President Park Geun-hye (AP Photo)

President Park Geun-hye (AP Photo)

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye warned Wednesday there will be no mercy in combating corruption in the strongest warning against top officials allegedly involved in high-profile corruption scandals that rocked South Korea.

“I won’t condone anyone responsible for corruption,” Park said in a meeting with officials at the government building. “People also won’t forgive those people.”

She made the strong warning as her government is reeling from the devastating corruption scandals that involved the prime minister and seven other key officials and politicians close to her.

The scandals, sparked by a brief memo left behind by a businessman who committed suicide last week, dealt yet another crushing blow to Park, who has been struggling to win the hearts and minds of the people.

The memo found in the pants pocket of Sung Wan-jong, the former head of a mid-size construction company, showed won figures written next to the names of six out of eight politicians, indicating that they had received money.

No won figures were written next to Lee’s name or that of Park’s current chief of staff, Lee Byung-kee.

Still, Sung claimed in a newspaper interview published Tuesday that he gave 30 million won (US$27,000) in cash to Lee while Lee was running for a parliamentary seat in April 2013. Sung had the telephone interview with the newspaper just before his suicide.

Lee is under mounting pressure to quit as an opposition party lawmaker threatened impeachment unless Lee step downs from the country’s No. 2 public job.

Lee said he cannot decide whether to quit based on the memo or what he says is a unilateral claim by the late businessman.

Park said suspicions of corruption linked to the top officials must be addressed in terms of political reform.

In a sign that prosecutors are speeding up their probe into the allegations, they raided the headquarters of Sung’s company Keangnam Enterprises in Seoul later Wednesday.

Investigators confiscated boxes of accounting data, documents of internal reports and computer hard disks. The prosecution formed a special investigation team four days earlier to look into the suspicions.

The latest scandals laid bare the country’s deep-rooted corruption as well as a cozy relationship between politicians and businessmen.

She also vowed to keep up the fight against corruption to make South Korea a cleaner country, noting that corruption is partly to blame for a deadly ferry disaster a year ago.

She called on officials to boost safety as she visited the government building to check preparations for a memorial service for the victims of the ferry disaster.

Her comment came a day before South Koreans are set to mark the first anniversary of the ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people, mostly teenage students on a school excursion.

Separately, a project to create a forest near the site of the ferry disaster has garnered more than 50 million won (US$45,000) in donations, a Seoul-based environmental group said Thursday.

The “Sewol Memorial Forest” is the brainchild of Audrey Hepburn’s eldest son Sean Hepburn Ferrer. He and the group Tree Planet launched the project last week with the hope of commemorating the students who perished in the ferry disaster.


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  2. lasloudjikamel

    April 16, 2015 at 6:33 AM

    je l’aprouve,c’est incontestable et nuisible apres maintes declarations.

  3. lasloudjikamel

    April 16, 2015 at 6:35 AM

    J’aprouve sa decision,incontestable et nuisible corruption apres maintes declarations.