Korea’s anti-graft law: 100 days since implementation

Thursday marked 100 days since Korea’s anti-corruption
law, known as the Kim Young-ran act came into force. Since then… a lot has changed,… but it
is all for the better? We wanted to take a look back on the cultural
and economic changes the law has put in motion. Here’s our Lee Unshin. For many corporate and government employees,
January is the time to send a gift like a bouquet of flowers to friends and colleagues
getting a promotion. But this year, the flower shops aren’t as
busy. “Since the anti-corruption law came into effect,
we’ve seen a significant decrease in terms of customers at the store and orders from
businesses.” It’s been more than three months since the
landmark anti-graft act took effect. The government’s ambitious goal of wiping
out bribery by limiting the value of meals and gift that can be given to people working
in key sectors like government, media and education,… has caused agony for some small-
and medium-sized businesses. Flower shops and restaurants have reported
a drop in sales since September. Even department stores… are seeing more
clients looking for modestly priced gifts. “We’re about 3 weeks from Lunar New Year,
one of Korea’s biggest national holidays. This is the first time the country will celebrate
such a major event since the anti-graft law came into force.And that’s had an impact,
as you can see here…Instead of lavish presents, modest gift boxes priced at under 50,000 won,
or 42 U.S. dollars, are on display.” The cultural and economic changes wrought
by the law, experts say,… are, for better or worse, necessary to achieve a long-term
goal. “The economic pain that’s hit certain businesses,
though unfortunate, is unavoidable. But one benefit of the act is that it shows
how so many people have become mindful of the fact that careless spending can amount
to bribery.” The move to end corruption seems to have made
some progress towards a more honest civic culture. But because of the struggle forced on some
businesses, there are calls for follow-up measures to limit the damage. Lee Unshin, Arirang news.

Stephen Childs

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