High Korean Corruption Rankings Make Netizens Despair

The announcement that South Korea is the most corrupt nation among developed countries in Asia has provoked accusations and anger from Koreans online. A Hong Kong-based risk consulting company recently published a report based on a survey of Asian business people that concluded that South Korea is more than twice as corrupt as Singapore, Japan, or Hong Kong. A 2013 survey from Transparency International also investigated the level of corruption in the country, reporting that Koreans feel political parties and the National Assembly are the most corrupt institutions, while NGOs were the least corrupt.

From Nate:

Korea, Most Corrupt among Developed Nations in Asia

According to an international survey, ‘Korea is the most corrupt developed nation in Asia’.

In a survey asking foreign businessmen in Asia about the level of corruption in their markets, South Korea was perceived to be at least twice as corrupt as Singapore, Japan, Australia, or Hong Kong. Those with a level of corruption higher than Korea include India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and China. South Korea ranked 2nd in Asia in the category of corporate corruption and lenient punishment for offenders. According to this report conducted in 17 countries in Asia (the U.S., Hong Kong, and Macao were also included) and released on the 14th by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), Korea has a corruption index of 6.98 this year.

corruption-index

PERC, established in 1976, researches Asian political and economic issues and consults for national and business risk management. For the last 20 years, they have annually surveyed 1000-2000 foreign businessmen in different countries about corruption (the highest level of corruption being a score of 10, the lowest being 0).

PERC’s 2013 report showed an increase in Korea’s place in the corruption rankings; Korea is now “the most corrupt of the developed countries in Asia, and the worst of the past 10 years.” In 2004, Korea had a score of 6.67, which went down to 4.88 in 2010 but since then has been rising to hit its highest level ever this year. This means that for foreign businessmen, the Korea of today is even less transparent than it was 10 years ago.

A PERC official said, “the more serious problem is that Korea’s leniency to corruption contributes to corruption ‘beyond Korea’s borders’. The roots of corruption in Korea stretch to the highest levels of government and business.”

Singapore has kept the title of the least corrupt country in Asia for the last 10 years, staying within a range of 0.37 to 1.30. The 2013 report rated both Japan and Australia at 2.35, Hong Kong at 3.77, and the U.S. at 3.82. China, which has emerged as the other member of the “Group of Two”, received a score of 7.79.

The negative assessment of corruption in Korea is not just a disgrace. When corruption is serious, it is perceived that there is less chance for fair competition and there are high business risks, all of which negatively affect foreign investment.

Yoon Eun-ki, head of the Korea Corruption Commission, said, “There is a report that, if the Corruption Perception Index from the Transparency International (TI) decreased by one point, GDP per capita rises by 2.64%. Singapore’s ‘economic growth miracle’, for example, was made possible by anti-corruption activities.”

Comments from Nate:

samu****:

Do you know why corruption is getting worse? It’s because our media fails at its job. One of the most important roles of media is checking and exposing corruption of the leaders. The moment media begins to watch high-ranking officials’ back, the public becomes blind and manipulated. What Korean society really needs is not good politicians but journalists of strict integrity who can keep the assemblymen and high-ranking officials in check and enlighten people. As a citizen who truly loves this country, I hate to see Korea going in the wrong direction.

cari****:

Not recognizing corruption is the bigger problem. Corrupt leaders and people who do not follow proper procedures in order to achieve their goals fail to overcome an insular culture based on educational, regional and blood ties. Then you can’t even dream of Korea becoming a developed country with advanced civic awareness. Even if you only cared about money and elected a president who pledged to revive the economy, has your livelihood gotten any better? Only those in power are doing well.

soyo****:

I can’t help but acknowledge it. I’m ashamed. We all played a part in creating a society like this. We common people need to improve our awareness first.

bree****:

Even our intelligence agency influenced the election. The bad evaluation was expected, was it not? ;;;;

gns0****:

The worst thing the MB government did was to control the media. They blocked people’s ears and mouths. How can corruption disappear? They just went crazy in the rush to make all the corrupt deals they could. They say Korea is a developed country, but according to international media, when it comes to freedom of the press, Korea is among the most repressive OECD countries, tsk tsk.

wjsk****:

Just what you would expect from a country where the national intelligence service turns their elite employee into a zombie who writes comments on the internet, ke.

jjk7****:

Stupid administration….. what could you expect but filth with such filthy leadership. Worthless Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye governments.

hsw6****:

How come Korea is a developed country? While our economy may be on the level of a developed country, the politicians’ corruption and civil awareness are on the level of not even developing but underdeveloped nations.

xxcx****:

Park Geun-hye’s cabinet picks might have contributed to an increase in the corruption index, ke ke ke. It is an unfair society where even the Blue House is rotten. Why would you want to care about integrity? That’s why people regard the president and the National Tax Service like a joke when they have to pay taxes, tsk tsk.

eyes****:

This is a country where the national intelligence service fervently claims writing comments and voting them up or down on the internet is an anti-spy activity.

Comments from Naver:

밤의황제:

I can feel it even at work.

zsv3****:

There is still a long way to go for Korea to become a developed nation…

wlsr****:

I’m ashamed and mad again at the gigantic corporations who made this corruption into the status quo.

asdf****:

It’s a country where even someone like Myung-bak can become the president!

yumi****:

Shameful but true. It feels bitter.

junm****:

We know it. You don’t even need to say it.

dlru****:

It sure is rotten…You can clearly see how the nation is run by the people up there.

uncl****:

I felt it at work! Our country is really corrupt. ㅠㅠ

egk1****:

NIS albas, you guys are contributing to it. Shame on you!

bbom****:

Rotten places, full of parasites.

Comments from Daum:

sunglass님:

The greatness of Lee Myung-bak-Geun-hye and the freaking Saenuri party. The presidential election was tainted in a democracy. What transparency can you expect?

남한정대세님:

Gotta acknowledge it.

이브님:

Better than I expected~~

새로기님:

Opportunistic Park Chung-hee, who turned from a Japanese army officer to a commie to a dictator through a coup, is respected in this country. What do you expect?

기운찬님:

I’m really envious of the Singaporeans.

시네마스콥님:

They said Saenuri party needs to be in power for 10 more years to stabilize the nation. You know what that means. With 10 more years, corruption can firmly settle down and the officials can easily commit whatever crimes they wish. Foreigners know this but why are we blind? Aha, even if we know it, we blindly vote for them to be on the same boat… No hope, my corrupt country…

간장곰님:

Not too bad.. I thought the index would be over 9..

ryan77님:

Bingo.

기냥님:

Look at the quality of our president……….That’s Korea~~

이젠뭘로하나님:

Exactly what I have felt in life. It just shows why President Roh was great and why the Rat [Lee Myung-bak] was filthy. I feel the corruption index is increasing right now.

Comments from MLB Park:

ppmmss:

Just what you would expect from the Republic of Chaebols. “Korea in particular ranked 2nd in Asia in the category of corporate corruption and lenient punishment for offenders.”

전자칩두뇌:

Koreans are so harsh on themselves.. In fact, Korea is much better off than Spain or Italy.. Even compared to Europe, except for Northern European countries, Germany, France and the UK, Korea fares well.

구렁몰랑:

Expected result..Not only the top officials are corrupt in Korea.. That’s why they are tolerated..That’s why Saenuri can stay in power..Things never change. This is not the problem of the government.. It is the problem of people..

동마나:

Corruption, like the collusion between politicians and businessmen in Japan, was almost like a textbook for Korea. Hereditary succession of power is ordinary there. The prime minister is openly at the top of such cliques. Look at Ishihara Shintaro for example. I don’t understand how they get such good scores.

strech:

The annual report from the NGO Transparency International is the most credible and accurate. The media just wrote a sensational article without checking on the way PERC conducted their survey and their credibility.

크레이토스:

Even if objective indices indicate that Korea is a developed country, people are in denial using all kinds of excuses. But as soon as they read about a report from an unknown organization, they are quick to buy it and go on a rant about Korea. That looks a bit…..ke

고플스:

As soon as I read that the report claims Thailand is less corrupt than Korea, I stopped reading. I bet my hand that the survey respondents haven’t really done business in Thailand. They are notorious for giving disadvantages to foreign companies. Police officers on the streets openly take bribes. Even if you want to open a small restaurant, you have to bribe at least a few places. There is a reason why there are few Koreans living in Thailand. It isn’t even allowed for foreigners to buy a house in your own name there. It is not rare for foreign businessmen who opened business in Thailand to pack up and leave due to fraud. Foreign businessmen are allowed to buy real estates only with locals together. In some cases, locals would take the property, take out a loan and run away. Whenever Koreans come across a critical report like this, they are quick to believe the whole thing and complain so much about Korea.

Miggy:

Malaysia is less corrupt? I wonder how they calculated the index. I think police officers and civil servants whom citizens directly meet are not really corrupt in Korea.. Maybe it’s because collusion between high-ranking officials and chaebols is so serious?

LionKing:

It must be because of the corporations. People don’t feel as strong about coporate corruption. With the memories of the dictatorship still fresh, they try to take privileges away from assemblymen and keep the president and local governments in check. But what’s being done about corporations?;;;

레독:

Some people seem to be unhappy with the PERC report because of the high corruption index during the administration they support. On the other hand, some other people would comfort themselves thinking the index is rather generous and Korea must have been a decent country to not receive a worse corruption index even in the 6th year of Saenuri in power. First of all, you should consider that each international organization has their own orientation. For example, there is no new value in the reports from the World Economic Forum. They just do surveys. For the case of Korea, they only survey the Federation of Korean Industries. When the report is published, Cho-Joong-Dong [Korean mainstream conservative media] write about it. As if the Roh Mu-hyun government wasn’t enterprise-friendly, for instance. Same with the Reporters Without Borders. Cho-Joong-Dong told tales that the Kim Dae-jung government was conducting a special tax audit of the media. Then the Press Freedom Index dropped even though the tax audit was allowed to be implemented every 5 years by law and it hadn’t been done for the last 20 years. As you see, those indices are subjective with many variables. It was the Grand National Party’s specialty to use this tactic to attack the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Mu-hyun governments for a decade. They never quoted anything from the renowned Brookings Institute. They always relied on American conservative Freedom House’s reports. Anyways, there are indices that are widely accepted by people and those that are not. Did Korean citizens accept the decrease in the Press Freedom Index then? Someone seems to wonder what the big deal is with the report from an unknown source from Hong Kong…but even the corruption index for Korea released by the credible Transparency International is getting worse.

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  • MintyBadger

    Are they also despairing for sitting idly by while it happened?

  • commander

    Some commentators made a persuasive argument that the credibility and reliablity of the organization conducting the corruption level survey of Asian countries where South Korea came in a disturbing second place need to be scrutinized.

    Some others also pointed out that the survey findings are questionable citing Japan’s alleged prevalence of politicians-businessmen collusion and ensuing corruption.

    But we need to remind ourselves that the survey is found on the perception of foreign business people about corruptiom levels in Asian countries, not on the actual number of corruption indictments.

    The message from the survey results are crystally clear: In the view of foriegners doing international business, South Korea is venal and bribery make achieveable what is impossible in other nations, and if found of guilty of corruptions, a person can buy his way out of punishment or get a mitigated penalty sentence.

    As one of crucial solutions to the worsening perception about the nation among other nationals, establishing a special agency dedicated to unearth high profile corruptions should be considered. Like Singapore, the envisioned anit-corruption agency should be bestowed with powers to investigate and indict suspects independeny from the prosecution.

    Among many corruption scandals the nation has seen is one involved in fake parts under a forged warranty supplied to nuclear power plants that have been suspended for techinical faults thag could have devastating impact on public safety. Another glaring example of corruption involves an elder brother of former President Lee Myung-bak in connection of keeping ailing savings banks from financial regulatory oversight in exchange for bribes.

    Bribery scandal in admission to renowned private middle schools is also noteworthy, with one prestigious school found to have admitted unqualified students on kickbacks from their parents.

    All these cases reveal that corruption has far flung influences on every aspect of life, demolishing the level playing fields, seeding wrong perception in those who are qualified but pushed away by corrupt competitors that not to be outdone, I am going to use bribery to get it done and that this is inevitable because everyone else are doing so.

    Given the severity of negative repercussions corruption brings about, an anti-corruption agency with investigation and indictment powers should be created to wipe out stubborn corruptions in the nation.

  • Sillian

    Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from the Transparency International is the most widely used corruption indicator. Last year, South Korea’s CPI ranked at 45th out of 174 countries, which is poor for a ‘developed’ nation. They used PERC data as one of the ten different sources.

    http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2012/results/

  • Kate

    Last month, I met a man who worked at the green house here in Seoul and worked directly for the politicians there and he was telling me about his job, then he said “They’re dirty, they’re all so dirty, they do so many corrupt things”. I didn’t ask him to elaborate, but I thought I’d share!

    • Cervello

      Are you sure it’s not Blue House? o_O

      • hun

        you telling me kate just got caught lying? :o

        • Patricks

          He grows plants and flowers for the politicians in his green house so has a good relationship with the politicians when they come to place and order . That’s no lie.

  • GForce

    “As soon as I read that the report claims Thailand is less corrupt
    than Korea, I stopped reading. I bet my hand that the survey respondents
    haven’t really done business in Thailand.”

    Read the above comment again. Everything he complains about for Thailand is almost EXACTLY what foreigners say about doing business in Korea.

    • Tawdy

      Corruption is quite hard to quantify in a survey result, it is literally a survey of foreign businessmen’s perception of corruption in the country. I’m sure if the locals themselves were included in the survey, the results might be a tad different.

      • yondae

        This whole ‘asiarisk’ firm is a real waste of webspace and real estate in Hong Kong. This whole notion of perceived corruption from foreigners in a given country as a viable indicator is comical. I’m not saying that Korea is a saint in terms of corruption, just that the methodology of this ‘organization’ is nonsense.

        • Tawdy

          you are right yondae. Just take a look at this article from Singapore’s AGO recently highlighted several “lapses” “kickbacks” corrupt practices whatever you may want to call it in Singapore government’s procurement and construction tendering process. http://sg.news.yahoo.com/government-continues-to-suffer-procurement-lapses–auditor-general-155236470.html

          I’m sure this lapses exists everywhere however, unless foreign businessmen have been doing business in the country and for a long time, it is hard to scratch beneath the surface to see the shit going on behind the smoke screen.

          • Dico

            Singapore is very good in covering up! Singapore is very good in ‘legalising’ corruption. The Prime Minister’s had a legal firm which rakes in millions from all the big corporations in Singapore. Many ministers have family members who have some kind of business which get money from government tenders!

            Recently an ex-minister by the name of Mah Bow Tan was found to have a single investment worth SGD 28 million! If only one investment is worth SGD 28 million, that means he could easily have hundreds of millions. The ruling Lee family could even posses billions since they father and son had been in power for more than 50 years! The current Prime Minister’s wife is in charge of Singapore’s sovereign funds worth hundreds of billions!

            The government had been very secretive about the status of the national reserves and the Prime Minister had declare it is not in the INTEREST of the people to know the status of the national reserves and the wealth of the ministers! The Prime Minister’s family members were appointed to many government or government corporation’s senior management positions. Cronyism is a serious as that of Indonesia.

            However, the Singapore government is very good in keeping relationship with the west and hiding corruption.

    • Sillian

      I think the netizen just tried to say corruption is more blatant in Thailand. Thailand is generally perceived to be much more corrupt than South Korea by CPI from TI. According to another recent report from TI, bribery rate was 3% in Korea whereas it was 18% in Thailand.

  • hun

    god damn singapore..

    • yondae

      This organization (Asiarisk) used a survey from foreigners to assess corruption. Isn’t this perceived corruption then? Singapore got a score of 0.74 from this organization. Singapore also ranks 149 out of 179 (Taiwan ranked 47, South Korea 50, Japan 53) on the press freedom rankings list. Well, I’d sure think some country was nice and dandy if I never read about corruption in the news either.

      http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html

      And based off my extensive experience watching yakuza movies, I’d say that Japan is the most corrupt country in the universe. ;)

      • hun

        my comment wasnt about singapore being less corrupted than others, as you pointed out it’s “perceived corruption” which is still an astonishing number considering how low that is compared to the other countries on the list.

        • chucky3176

          Perhaps that’s partially due to heavy media censorship in Singapore? Accusations of government corruptions would never be aired, because it’s against the law. I don’t know, I’m not familiar with Singapore. But there were actually in 1970’s Korea when Koreans actually thought Korea had a very clean government – they got that impression because there were no dirty laundry aired about the government. We now know that, that wasn’t true.

  • Webster

    Again, why education in statistics and data analysis matters…
    Their methodology is key here. I haven’t seen the survey, but from the summary it seems they simply asked about “perceptions,” no?

    This is corroborated by the significant fluctuations annually (i.e. look at US: general downward trend, spikes after 2008 and again after 2011).

    • chucky3176

      Yes you’re right, they’re just asking people’s perception. The methodology has its flaws. But that’s the only way to measure and quantify corruption though, how else is that going to be measured? By asking the poll question.

      “From scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, what score would you give your country in terms of corruption?”

      For Korea’s case, many Koreans have had a long negative view on the cozy ties between the big conglomerates and the government backed policies.

      When you constantly see on TV, the big executives getting off with slaps on the wrist for illegal election financing of their political parties involved, you’ll tend to think corruption is rampant – as compared to some countries where this doesn’t even make the news.

      It is perception, however it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong perception. The only way for South Korea to ditch this perception is to break up the family governing of the conglomerates and their cozy ties with the government. That will go a long way towards Koreans trusting more, their government and their big businesses.

      • Webster

        Yes, but you misunderstood the point I was trying to make.

        It is not the same to conclide “Korea is more corrupt than ___”
        That is not what this data shows, because that is not what they measured. They did not conceptualize corruption, they conceptualized perceptions of corruption, and that’s what they measured.

        Thus, the appropriate conclusion to draw from the data is “Koreans perceive there tobe a higher level of corruption in their government than ____”

        That distinction matters. And of course you can measure such things without relying solely on perception ( is probably better when you want to conduct an comparative study as there nay be certain social or cultural proclivities to be pessimistic- like what you said about the Chaebols, again, that’s perception, not empirical measurement).

        Studies like those done by Amnesty International use empirical metrics to determine what corruption is [constituted of] and measure it in several countries, allowing for equal comparative study.

        Now, of course one can dissent with their choices, but that’s where scholarly discourse comes in.

        My gripe was with the tone of the original article and many of the comments.

        It’s misrepresenting the data.

        • chucky3176

          Perceptions or otherwise, Korean people’s perception doesn’t just happen out of a vaccuum. We just had another case of national corruption where the archive document that would have revealed what was said between South Korean president Roh Moohyun and North Korea during the 2007 summit. Roh is being accused of trying to sell out the country to North Korea by the Conservative party. That document would have revealed what was really said, and just as they were going to reveal that, the document goes missing from the national archives. Who took it and why?

          This example is out of many, Korean people point to examples like this, and say they cannot trust their own government, nor the media.

          • Webster

            I understand what you’re saying, but you are not understanding my point. Like, at all: I’m solely concerned with the interpretation. You can not interpret the data as telling you anything meaningful about the level of corruption in a country. All it’s showing is the perception, because that is what they measured.

            So it’s not possible to extrapolate from the data that Korea is the __-th most corrupt. Because we have no idea. It’s qualitative, not quantitative.

            The only thing that is quantified is the scores on perception (i.e. Korea is more pessimistic about the level of corruption in government than respondents in China).

  • commander

    Broadly varing reactions at thevsurvey findings reveals that statistical data can bb challenged in its objectivity as hypotheses on which it is founded different, choosing respondents to the survey can be tilted one or another.

    This disputed objecitvity points to the need not to buy it without critical thought.

    For one thing, foreign business people working in Asian countries surveyed could have insufficient understanding of the workings of politcal, economic aspects of nations where they stay.

    But the absolute measure of corruption levels is hard to establish, foreign perception is one of viable gauges of corruption levels in comparison with others.

    The media tend to have articles focused on a sensational part of a study, showing less appetites on verifying credibility and objectivity of methodology in the survey media outlets cover.

    These tow factors–possible statistical errors and news services’ proclivity for arousing public attention–means that readers need to carefully accept gistd of articles featuring attentiom getters.

  • Isaac

    Higher than Spain, Italy and China?

    Something’s very wrong with this survey…

    • Sillian

      Who said that? Did you read the article?

    • GuilleKnows

      Nothing is wrong, it’s South Korea. Even its historical books use very unreliable sources, so imagine the education

    • josh

      No sir, Korea is the nation of appearances, it’s all about covering it’s ass from top too bottom, you have never seen national pride which breeds corruption like mad til you take a good look at Korea’s behavior.

  • KCdude

    I’ve seen way too many news about financial frauds on Naver. And I’ve seen a handful of police corruption in my daily life right during my 1.8 years of work in Korea. Should I be surprised?

    • Sillian

      Many people don’t even have to talk to a policeman for their entire life. You personally witnessed a handful cases of police corruption within two years? That sounds extraordinary as with many things you say. What happened?

      • KCdude

        I lived in a shady part of Seoul with low rise buildings for 7 months. My male neighbor brought a female prostitute. Two cops fought with that male neighbor and he gave both of them some hard cash. This happened twice over the course of a month and a half. A friend of my academy boss gave bribery to the cops not too long ago over a shady violent incident. You can see them if you have functioning eyes and a brain.

  • Korean Boob

    Historically, in Korea, authority = corruption and bullying. Not much has changed for business or politics. Maybe it never will for Korea. Sigh…

    • Josh

      There is some hope with the kids, but they all have fairly poor idols and will likely have their spirits broken by the culture of rejection.

  • Jang

    S. Korea corrupt? You’ve got to be kidding, but what would anyone expect when it is illegal to tell the truth(libel law), punishable by both civil and criminal laws in both courts. Why? To protect the rich and powerful, including political leaders. Instead of Koreans changing those 3rd world laws, they let their society continue to protect criminals. It’s their culture! Don’t expect any demonstrations on what might help S. Korea, expect them to protest against the bad white man based on a fake video.

    • dk2020

      blame whitey or the japanese always works!

      • Sillian

        Lol. Don’t even play along with him like that.

    • Sillian

      Don’t expect any demonstrations on what might help S. Korea, expect them to protest against the bad white man based on a fake video.

      Most or all of your comments are off the point and bitter. You always try to be sarcastic but misplace it. There have been protests after protests in Korea for decades and many changes have been made. You should stop with the persecution complex. You aren’t even a big deal.

      • Jang

        Only the last half of my last sentence is off point, but only by a tadbit at that. If it weren’t against the law to tell the truth in S. Korea perhaps Koreans could begin to stop corruption, until then forget about it. If you can’t promote telling the truth how can you promote honest business practices, now there’s a thought aye?

        • Sillian

          Where is the imaginary protest against the ‘bad white man’ because of the video? You take yourself too seriously.

          “If it weren’t against the law to tell the truth in S. Korea”

          What does that even mean? Back it up if you can.

          • chucky3176

            “Don’t expect any demonstrations on what might help S. Korea, expect them
            to protest against the bad white man based on a fake video.”

            He’s in an expat bubble. He gets all his news from Korea blogs, and they’re mostly about foreigners versus Koreans. It’s pretty obvious he has zilch knowledge of Korean language.

            “What does that even mean? Back it up if you can”

            I think he means Korea’s libel laws. If you watch shows like “Zero Complaints”, that exposes bad products/services or frauds by businesses, you’ll notice the shows always blur out the faces, the names, and the companies. The show will tell you what bad things are happening, but they won’t tell you who’s doing those bad things. That’s because the shows will be liable in the civil courts, if they reveal any real names. So he’s half right, yes, telling who’s doing what bad things can lead you to being sued by the accused (even if your accusations are true), but it’s not “illegal” to the point you’ll be prosecuted in the criminal courts and put in prison.

            Like I said, when you can’t understand the language and you come from a sue-happy culture where spilling a hot coffee on yourself can lead you to winning millions of dollars in court, you’ll think Korean laws are backwards because it’s not like where you’re from.

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  • penelope

    australia is more corrupt than south korea.

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  • Noogi

    Looks like they need a City Hunter

  • Zëçô Al-Shanfari

    Its like how jyj are blocked everywhere

  • Smith_90125

    Where’s the surprise? Korean politicians and business type are behaving exactly the same way as most Koreans do in everyday life. They think their behaviour (the spitting, the littering, the nose picking, the passive-aggressive banging into people on sidewalks) is excusable because “nobody saw it” – or at least, nobody they know. Minor theft of others people’s property (e.g. pens, staplers, umbrellas, et al) are everyday events, perpetrated as long as they don’t get caught and no one in their social circle catches them. It’s only when some get caught that there’s outrage – most likely because those complaining wish THEY had been able to get away with it.

    In Japan, on the other hand, people care about how they are perceived by others around them, especially strangers. They worry about their image, appearance and reputation around people they don’t know, so corruption is much less likely. It’s the same for all the countries on the list – the countries that have ways to rationalize unethical behaviour are the most corrupt (e.g. Filipinos’ “pray and be forgiven for anything” mentality), and the countries where appearance and reputation matter are the least corrupt.

    • Dico

      Corruption is view as a necessary evil in Korea, they accepted it as part of their culture.

      Corruption in Korea had been rampant since the feudal times. You don’t see small time corruption in Korea like Thailand or India where policemen asked for ‘Coffee Money’ but corruption at the higher level is rampant!

      The only reason that Koreans wants to be politicians because of the money! it is the same like the Chinese in China.

  • josh

    What the Korean people fail to understand is Korean culture is the cause, the finger pointing at the few is just another action of a people that top to bottom behave as immature as their politicians do. The worship of money, the rich, the idols, the extremist nature due to suppression of emotion. Korean hierarchy system allows anyone in a position of power to abuse it. They aren’t questioned by the people, it’s laughable to rely on media when they just behave as every other person in the country does acting in fear of their bosses. Every single Korean has this insecurity complex so none stand up for them self, they hide their heads in the sand or run away from anything uncomfortable and dislike anyone who they perceive is behind encouraging them questioning their life which is a lie, they then misdirect their anger parochially. The establishing of massive importance in education is simply another level of corruption for governments and universities to profit from and look like they are managing the country better even when noone can leave school and get a job, few can leave university and get a job due to the overwhelming slave mentality of the culture that one needs a piece of paper from the government to say they can maybe do the task when the reality is they will still perform poorly in their new role as their schooling was horrible they had to virtually live at the university and become test takers. University is not a sensible standard nor is the manner the students are treated at them sensible for non-scientific ventures. They all think they are special outwardly because they know they aren’t but this leaves them to believe certain jobs are below them and other people are below them, this is the culture. The corruption stems from the people them self, all need to take a look at them self and realize they live a lie in their public life and would do exactly the same corrupt things if given the opportunity. This is obvious as none of you can look a stranger in the eye. It is pathetic, you have such lack of self worth. It should be clear to you that money won’t change that. The rich live fake personas as well, they are a product that cannot deviate from their public profile. If koreans were included in such a survey they would just lie and say nothing to see here move along all is well, that is the culture that breeds corruption. Massive materialistic parochialism, the korean people would do well to learn they are not their country and they are not their culture they are something better then such unethical institutions. The attachment to both is unhealthy, it is a sign of trauma and xenophobia. Koreans the only people that hate you is yourself, the people of other nations want to love you but you don’t let them out of your own self loathing.

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