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Eyes on whether President Park’s special pardon list will include business figures


With Korea’s Liberation Day just over a month
away,… the question of presidential pardons has come under the spotlight once more.
As we have in years past,… all eyes are on whether key business leaders stand a chance
to make the cut. Kim Min-ji fills us in on who may be benefit
from the tradition, which some Koreans frown upon.
The government has begun preparations to draw up a list of candidates eligible for special
pardons. The Justice Ministry will form a panel,…
comprised of four ministry officials and five civilians… and headed by the justice minister
— to carry out the procedures. Once the list is complied,… the candidates
need approval from the Cabinet and proclamation by the president.
In Korea, presidents traditionally grant pardons on national holidays to highlight national
unity. Similar to last year,… pardons are expected
to be given to those convicted of minor crimes,… but with the economy showing no signs of imminent
recovery,… attention is on whether it will include any key business figures.
There’s speculation Kim Seung-youn — chairman of Hanwha Group — currently serving a five
year suspended sentence after being convicted of business irregularities — could be among
those to be pardoned. SK Group vice chairman Chey Jae-won — sentenced
to three and a half years for embezzlement and using those funds for investment — is
another potential candidate. Others include Koo Bon-sang,… Vice Chairman
of LIG Nex1,… and CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun — both put behind bars for business
irregularities. Last year, only one corporate leader made
the list,… with no politicians or civil servants.
But with President Park Geun-hye emphasizing unity with the launch of the 20th National
Assembly,… and noting the gloomy economic situation,… there’s growing expectation
the list may include more this time around. “We face economic difficulties at home and
abroad, which are weighing heavily on the people. We need a turning point for the nation
by coming together and overcoming the crisis.” But the practice has long been criticized
as a tool to hand out favors to friends and business leaders.
On top of that, some argue the pardons don’t really give the business sector that much
of a lift anyway. Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

Stephen Childs

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