Accused of Admissions Fraud, Vice Principal Commits Suicide

Young Hoon International Middle School, one of the most prestigious international schools in South Korea, has become the scene of a tragedy after the vice principal killed himself following an investigation into admissions fraud. In early March of this year, it was reported that the son of Lee Jae-yong, vice president of Samsung Electronics, was accepted to the school under a special admissions category for underprivileged students, typically the children of single parents, multicultural students, defectors, or other “special consideration” groups.
Since Lee Jae-yong was divorced from his wife, his son was technically the child of a single parent. However, as public opinion has turned against the special admissions process, the office of the Seoul Metropolitan Department of Education started an investigation, which finally classified the situation as a case of “falsified test scores”. Meanwhile, since the case has expanded and grown more serious, many people have been demanding that the educational system of international middle schools should be reformed.

	YoungHoon International Middle School welcomed the son of Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics while blocking other common students’ admissions.

YoungHoon International Middle School welcomed the son of Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics while blocking other ordinary students’ admissions.

Article from SBS:

“I was wrong,” YoungHoon Vice Principal Hangs Himself

The vice president who committed suicide was being investigated by prosecutors on suspicion of falsifying admission test records to grant enrollment to unqualified students in the 2013 academic year.

On May 20th, Jo Seung-hyun, an officer of the Seoul Metropolitan Department of Education, said that three people, including the vice principal, head of the admission department, and the chief of school affairs took the lead role in falsifying test records.

Young Hoon maintains a number of special admissions slots for underprivileged students, which have a different criteria from general admissions. The three school officials under investigation gave three unqualified students a perfect score in order to grant them enrollment as underpriviliged students. In addition, they subtracted points from qualified students in order to make spots available.

Police presumed that after the investigation expanded in 2010, the vice principal felt emotional pressure on being accused of manipulating school records.

Furthermore, he seemed to be intimidated after the chief of administration was arrested and indicted on suspicion of receiving 90 million won (about $78,159) from students’ parents in return for enrollment at Young Hoon International Middle School.

According to a student’s mother, she got a call from the school, which asked her to pay twenty million won ($17,368.) to the development fund in order to guarantee her child’s enrollment. According to word of mouth, twenty million won is the unofficial price for admission to Young Hoon Elementary and Middle School.

Prosecutors said they obtained a number of pieces of meaningful evidence relating to the admission fraud, and they have no intention to change the direction of investigation despite the suicide of vice principal.

Also, Kim Ha-jung, chairman of the board of the affiliated Young Hoon Hagwon, will be summoned to testify this week for accusations of contributing to the admission fraud.

younghoon pic3

Comments from Twitter:


In the end, he didn’t take responsibility for what he did. He couldn’t deny the admissions fraud any more. He might think that suicide was the last option for him, but it didn’t mean the end of the situation…Well, I don’t know what to say..


So the vice president of the school which is under investigation for corruption committed suicide “in the school”? Was it suicide, or was it murder?


I bet tomorrow’s atmosphere in the school will be a mess.


The almighty dollar! Lee Jae-yong, a son of Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung made the vice principal commit suicide. Samsung killed him.


I feel bad for the students who got shocked and traumatized. I think it is okay to say this incident makes me question the purpose of the school itself. If it stays open, it will have a negative impact on the students. Superintendent of Education Moon Yong-rin should abolish the system of international middle schools right now.


Even while he was dying, he didn’t confess his sin but rather told a lie: ‘I did it for our school.’ He was definitely beyond redemption.


The news about the suicide of the vice principal of Young Hoon International Middle School.. How many lives must be sacrificed for the sake of Korean competitive education? Yoo yoo.


Aren’t International middle schools built for foreign student? This is like building an “intergalactic middle school” and waiting for aliens to apply.

Comments from Nate:


They are international in name only. We already know whose sons and daughters entered those schools and what they do. ke ke


Young Hoon students must have been proud of themselves when they entered the best school.. But they finally realized their school uniforms mean nothing after the admission fraud came out to the public.. Now that school crest has become a scarlet letter

kkii**** :

I think this international school system should be removed because if it exists, the bad image related to this case will always follow the students.

kard**** :

Parents and school authorities should be responsible for everything. All authorities including permission and guidance organizations have to share a common responsibility for school administration.

real**** :

Frankly speaking, the biggest losers here are the students of Young Hoon Middle School. They just went to school “normally” before, but now are branded with admission fraud and try to attend class in the totally devastated school. How sad.


The naïve students from a poor and weak family who dreamed of entering the international middle school are being completely ignored.

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  • holdingrabbits

    I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, but why the hell is anyone this competitive for middle school enrollment? What do they say in the brochure? “If you get your dumb kid into our school, we promise we can secure him a soul killing desk job and a life of mediocrity.” Seriously, just go to the middle school down the street.

    • MeiDaxia

      Spoken like a person who truly knows nothing about Asia/Asian school systems.

      In Korea, China, and Japan, getting into a good high school most often leads to getting into a good college. People are competitive in big cities in the USA to get into charter schools, or the better public high schools because they know that then their children will have a better chance at a brighter future.

      • holdingrabbits

        Spoken like someone who truly knows everything.

        I understand it, dear, I just think it’s stupid. Someone’s future career prospects being determined by where they went to middle school is clearly dumb as hell. It is not at all similar to the states, as the only people who care about where their kid goes to middle school are people with more money than sense (money, sense, cents, get it?). Like in America, I think that how much money your parents have is a much better indicator of future success than how smart you are. The point is, what is this amazing school offering that no other school can offer? Nothing. The belief that teachers are the key to education and not the students’ own work ethic is an antiquated belief at best, but a lot of the education system is based on finding silver bullets and snake oils that will definitely get you ahead of all the other proletariat children whom you will one day rule over with an iron fist.

        • MeiDaxia

          There aren’t enough colleges in Asia for the number of students that apply. If one school offers more of a guarantee of acceptance than another, and in order to get in you have to put out a little more cash, then why wouldn’t they do anything ot guarantee themselves a better future?

          Maybe you missed the link (at least the ideal one) where good elementary school > good middle school > good college, but that’s typically how things work in Asia. Here in China, rich parents bribe schools to let their children in, because of the value of the NAME of the school. In this way, the names of schools are valued more than the quality of education recieved, or even test scores in some cases. If you were able to get into Yonsei, Kodae, etc. you are automatically perceived as intelligent. The names are what people pay for, and the (assumed) education that comes with them.

          • holdingrabbits

            There actually are plenty of colleges in Korea, but people only want to go to three of them.

            I understand the concept of a school having a good name and how you’re perceived as intelligent if you go to one of them. I get that that is reality…however, I still think it’s stupid that the name of a school outweighs the importance of quality. “Assumed” education is right. It may be how things work in Asia, but I’d rather hire someone who was actually intelligent than someone who had all the trappings of intelligence. I’ve worked with SKY graduates who didn’t have a lick of sense. They were good at falling in line, doing what they were told, etc., but I’ll be damned if an intelligent thing ever came out of their mouths.

          • yondae

            “I’ve worked with SKY graduates who didn’t have a lick of sense. They were good at falling in line, doing what they were told, etc., but I’ll be damned if an intelligent thing ever came out of their mouths.”

            —- I assume you spoke to them in their native language then….

          • Guest

            They went there to study English and had lived abroad for years. Sorry, I haven’t been taking Korean lessons since the 3rd grade or spent thousands of dollars on hagwons for English.

          • nqk123

            Dear Guest,

            you have too much free time.

          • holdingrabbits


            you certainly found your way to this thread in your few spare moments!^^

          • nqk123

            a friend told me about this site. otherwise, i would’ve never know. good for killing an hr during lunch break.

          • holdingrabbits

            i have to show up at work 2 hours early with nothing to do…i’m a sad, sad man.

          • nqk123

            I used to be a very hard worker, but after a few years I came to realize most of these companies only care about profits. After that, I only works enough to put me at safe place. not lazy not really really hard worker either.

          • yondae

            Well, then I guess they don’t actually know how to really care about only profits. A harder effort from you would usually translate to more profits.

          • holdingrabbits

            They went there for the purpose of majoring in English and lived abroad for a number of years. Sorry, I haven’t been taken Korean classes since 3rd grade or spent thousands of dollars learning Korean at cram schools. Is it wrong to expect fluency out of someone who’s dedicated their lives to becoming fluent?

          • 21tigermike

            Just like anywhere else in the world… When everyone graduates, the HR Managers don’t want to look through a stack of 500 CV’s so they just toss out any that aren’t from certain key Universities. That’s why you go to SKY. Think about it: What company expects Interns/College Grads to do anything? None. They all have training programs. So the college process isn’t really about Education: it’s just about competition.

          • D Johnson

            You are referencing the “SKY Network”.

      • Don’t Hate

        In the words of Kim Jeong from the Hangover Movie.. “Ni*** Please!”

        The fact that his/her dad was a CHAIRMAN at Samsung means they have enough money to build their own darn school or possibly get the best tutoring money can buy. Which probably would’ve been the best money well spent. What’s the sense of going through all the BS to get your kids into and elementary school/high school etc; setting the pace for them in such a dog race to have them only climb to the top (by unscrupulous means) to later hang themselves for societal misconducts such as this. What a horrible cycle.

  • The Enlightened One

    School enrollment is way too competitive in Asia. In China if they screw up on their Gao Kao’s (University entrance exam) a lot of students kill themselves or their parents freak out and kill them or commit suicide themselves. They think they can only get into the shitty schools and won’t even be able to get a job.

    I hear Korea has the highest student suicide rate (or was that Japan?). In any case, Korea, China and Japan are at the top of the list. Too much stress and too little release.

    • The Enlightened One

      Yep, looks like South Korea is number two on a few lists.

      GREENLAND is number one?!!! What the hell is wrong with them?

      • markus peg

        quote “GREENLAND is number one?!!! What the hell is wrong with them?”
        Lemmings live in Greenland :P

    • gangnamstyke

      really im chinese and i release a lot……….on yo moms face ,, ohhhhhh in yo face son in yo face,, grab your glocks when you see tupac

  • lonetrey / Dan

    All of a sudden, my American school system doesn’t seem so bad anymore…

    • gangnamstyke


    • nqk123

      American school system is not that bad. the main problem is at home. both parents working or parents lack education/English proficiency or they don’t give a fk.

  • Brett

    I was told that the Korean government would only let my daughter hold dual-citizinship should we agree to not abuse the “foreigner privilege” to attend an international school. Koreans usually aren’t allowed to enroll in them (in Korea).

    • harvz

      Is this the oh so common Korean government official being emotional rather than professional, or did you have to actually sign something regarding this?

      What are you going to do?

    • yondae

      Just agree and go to the int’l school anyway cause that’s what any parent in any country would do.

    • markus peg

      Ive heard this, i met a Korean who went to an intonational school who told me the same thing you just said, tho i have no idea why its illegal? Do you happen to know

  • yz

    What’s wrong with all these CEO’s, presidents etc. committing suicide whenever they get into some shit? Do they think they’re Samurai’s doing that Seppuku ritual so they can get their ”honor” back? lol what in the world are laws for when everybody’s just ”punishing” themselves. idiots.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      No, because seppuku is a Japanese thing and Koreans will make sure you remember that they are NOT Japanese. Plus seppuku is much more painful than a simple hanging, and much more messy.

      No, Koreans and Japanese have been hanging themselves not to punish themselves because they lost face. And in a society, where your identity and position means everything, that’s bad. They get hit with a depression that you don’t really see in the West, and they can no longer face reality. When that happens, they either become shut ins, or they kill themselves. Kinda sad really. Society really does drive them so hard that when they crash, they REALLY crash.

      • MeiDaxia

        Kind of a response to both of you guys, but in Korea at least, committing suicide basically softens the blow for your institution/business/family. I think this happened with a couple of corrupt presidents, whose families had been preparing for HUGE fines, etc. but then after the guy took the leap, they were all but forgiven. Think of it like a musician getting caught with drugs, then sentenced to making PSA’s about not doing drugs, while continuing to do them. Nothing is changed, but you “can’t put a rich person in jail” it seems. Unless, of course, they’re batshit insane a la 90’s RDJ, or Tom Sizemore.

      • Guest

        Oh give us all a break!! I’ve gone and come back and you’re always trying to defend or give some tired definition between what is korean as opposed to other asian races. I’m sure she knew it is not a Korean thing. If you are in fact from Korea you are really doing them a huge injustice by being so one track minded. Get a life!!!

        • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

          Sorry, there was too much bile in that reply. Try again after you taken that broom out of your ass.

    • Minty Badger

      Also, he only committed white collar crime for which he might receive a suspended sentence, acquittal, or a short jail term. Sometimes I wonder if these “suicides” by people linked to scandals involving people who are really in power in this country aren’t simply murdered and then just classified as a suicide to fully protect the truly guilty parties. Shame wasn’t enough of a motivator to keep him from committing the crime, but all of a sudden it’s a reason to off himself? No way.

    • 21tigermike

      It’s a shame based society. Sadly the flip side is shameless guys in Shanghai urinating in the street in broad daylight, and horking/spitting inside restaurants.

      If only there was a middle ground.

    • markus peg

      there’s a saying that goes “every mistake you make, makes you stronger.”
      but not if they commit suicide ….

  • commander

    In a country where parents are notably famous for their extraordinary educational zeal for their children, the elite middle school’s admission of the grandson of Samsung Group chairman Lee Gun-hyee provoke public uproar, and great disappointment for the parents whose child was passed over for a seat in admission.

    Actually, the idea of founding the prestigious private middle school faced a scathing criticism that the envisaged school, unlike the stated purpose of offering tailored quality education to talented minds, would only serve the educational needs for offspring from the wealthy, and the powerful given enormous educational fees from attending the school.

    Another powerful antagonist case is that a new private middle school would produce money-fueled competition among students. In South Korea many students rely on private educational academy after school to get highet scores or to gain admission when they get to renowed highschools or universities.

    The envisioned school could certainly heat up private education market, thus widening the education gap between the affluent and less fortunate.

    In a bid to yield a breakthrough on the long standing stalemate between supporters, mostly prosective students’ parents and critics, predominantly activists, the school foundation suggest a certain quata of admissions for the disadvantaged, a channel a child from Samsung Group’s first family reportedly took advantage of for his admission.

    The compromised suggestiom proved crucial in the passage of a bill permitting the foundation of private middle schools, and also turned out to be critically flawed in fleshing out its initial suggestion over years.

    SBS investigative documentary reveals widespread admission corruptions at the Younghun middle school. Money wad handed out for the admission of children from the well off families and qualified but poor students with no prominent family background were kicked out in admission documentation asessment, mainly by falsifying scores.

    Money commands admiration in capitalistic society as a sign of success, accomplished by hardworking and devotion.

    This belief may exist in a textbook’s ideal tale.

    In reality, the underpriviledged may have to strrugle their way to success often crossing the grey area into illicit but safe until being disclosed territory.

    This may be the secrets to success that successful guys are reluctant to share with others.

    Outcome commanders the reality, and it is not that the strong is those who survive but vice versa: the survived is those who are strong.

  • pingu777

    This especially is infuriating to me because when I first arrived in Korea I could barely speak Korean at all but couldn’t apply to an international middle school because my family lacked the money to do so so I had to apply to a regular Korean school.

  • KCdude

    Koreans will abuse everything including the education system. No offense but the usual Korean mentality is not different from a mind of a dangerous serial child rapist. (보통 한국인은 욕심과 권력에 취해서 그런지 교육제도를 포함한 모든 것을 부정적으로 남용합니다. 그래서 보통 한국인의 생각은 위험한 아동성폭행범의 생각과 별반 차이가 없습니다.)

    • Sillian

      That’s not even self-depreciation. What you constantly show is disturbingly cringe-inducing self-hate..assuming you are not a troll in disguise. You have issues.

      • KCdude

        Obviously I do have issues. I have problems with Koreans.

        • Sillian

          That is too obvious isn’t it? I mean you will probably have to examine yourself first before talking shit about others.

          • KCdude

            I love to talk shit about Koreans just like what most ethnic Koreans would do. I think it’s natural. Thanks for your comment. :)

  • sharan92

    Recently I was extremely low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – iljh

  • D Johnson

    I worked at this school for two years as an English teacher. From every thing I experienced at this school it’s clear that the fish stinks from the head down. Young-Hoon is privately held. Nothing went on there without the ownership’s knowledge. While I worked there we were warned it was illegal to do private lessons, until I saw the owner ask a friend to tutor an incoming student. No disrespect intended, but many Koreans think the secret to mastering the system is cheating without getting caught. Systemic.

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