Outgoing President Pardons Corrupt Friends, Netizens Outraged


From Yonhap News:

President Lee Makes Special New Year Pardons…55 People, including Choi See-joong and Chun Shin-il

Cabinet vote for pardons…’are based on law and principles’

Includes Park Hee-taeㆍKim Hyo-jaeㆍSuh Chung-won…but excludes President’s relatives

5 people from the ‘Yongsan Massacre’ receive pardons…Entrepreneurs like former KT CEO Nam Joong-soo included

On the 29th, President Lee Myung-bak granted special pardons to 55 people, including former Korea Communications Commission Chairman Choi See-joong [close political ally] and Sejoong Namo Tour Chairman Chun Shin-il [long term friend].

On the day, Blue House spokesperson Park Jeong-ha conveyed that President Lee presided over the 6th Cabinet Meeting at the Blue House, where Minister of Justice Kwon Jae-jin voted for an impromptu bill of pardon.

President Lee said that ‘When we launched our government, we said we would not abuse the amnesty bill, and that we will not pardon any power-related corruption that occurred during my term and I’ve made every effort to keep our promise’ and that ‘these pardons too were based on such principles.’

President Lee explained that ‘for the first time, we underwent further procedures, with the amnesty jury including a large number of civilian members in order to be transparent and be in accordance with the law’ and ‘the current government will issue pardons for the sake of [people’s] livelihood, and there are less political amnesties granted compared to previous administrations.’

The principles of the current amnesties are ▲the President’s relatives are excluded ▲scandals that have occurred during the current term too will be excluded ▲pardon those from SMEs that have a certain degree of economic contributions ▲(make pardons as to) resolve social conflicts.

The current pardons include the former Chairmans Choi and Chun who in 2008 were involved in the money-envelope scandal at a party convention and were sentenced in August to two years in prison on probation; former National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae who at time was the Chairman of the camp who received one year on probation in June; and former Blue House political affairs secretary Kim Hyo-jae.

Former Chairmans Park and Choi were members of the ‘6-strong meetings’ of the then presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak in the 2007 elections are expected to receive controversial pardons for their meritorious entrepreneurship in the current government.

Together with this, President-elect Park Geun-hye’s close aide and pro-Park alliance leader Suh Chung-won was also pardoned.

Accordingly, the President’s big brother Lee Sang-deuk, former Deputy Minister of Knowledge Economy Park Young-joon, former Deputy Minister of Culture Shin Jae-min, First Lady Kim Yoon-ok‘s older cousin Kim Jae-hong, former Blue House head Kim Hee-joong, former lawmaker Hong Sa-deok, Taekwang Industry’s Chairman Park Yeon-cha and the likes all failed to hit the President’s criteria for amnesty.

Government and business leaders, personnel from social organisations were exonerated or reduced sentences.

Among the six people imprisoned in relation to the Yongsan Massacre, all 5 squatters received pardons exempting them from their remaining prison terms. Just the one who played a major role [in the incident] was excluded from the pardon evaluation.

Former National Assembly speaker Park Kwan-yong and former senior secretary in the Roh Blue House Park Jung-gyu and former General Secretary Jung Sang-moon were given pardons.

Among politicians, former lawmakers Kim Jong-ryul, Suh Gab-won, and Woo Je-hang from the opposition, and former lawmakers Jang Kwang-keun and Hyun Kyung-byung from the opposition received special pardons.

Former Geoje mayor Kim Han-kyeom and his sentence reduced and former Naju mayor Shin Jeong-hoon was also pardoned.

Businessmen such as former KT president Nam Joong-soo and President Cho Hyeon-joon of Hyosung Textile PG, Daeyang Paper representative Kwon Hyeok-hong, Korea Cast Iron Pipe Chairman Kim Gil-chul, Namsung Shipping Chairman Kim Young-chi, Huneed Technologies Chairman Kim Yoo-jin, Ritco Chairman Jeong Jong-seung, Hanho Construction Chairman Shin Jong-jeong, and former Maniker representative Han Hyeong-seok all received pardons.

In relation to those from the educational, cultural and social sectors, Honorary Chairman of the Male Afterschool Foundation Son Tae-hee, Taewon Entertainment representative Jeong Tae-won, Korea Confederation of Trade Unions’ Chairman Lee He-soo and the head of National Action Campaign for Freedom and Democracy in Korea Suh jeong-kap were also subject to pardons.

Underprivileged foreign prisoners of exemplary attitude were exempt from their sentence.

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik urged that ‘all members of the State Council make the best of efforts to explain the purpose and principles of these pardons.’

He conveyed that the final list of pardons was finalised last weekend and submitted to the Cabinet Meeting who then confirmed it.

On the other hand, key advisors to the Blue House explained with regard to incoming President Park Geun-hye’s accusations of corruption within President Lee’s final day that ‘she must believe and understand that the process was carried out following transparent procedures and principles.’

These special pardons, reduced sentences and exonerations will take place this coming 31st of January.

Comments from Nate:


So Lee Myung-bak is making some futile efforts in the last hours of his term……..but what the hell? Pardoning all his aides….as well as pardoning all those who were supposed to serve at most 2 years? Looks like Lee Myung-bak is really a vile nom.. Regardless of political inclinations, that bastard deserves to be cursed…. How could he not know the public sentiment? Presidential pardons for corruption scandals or election code offences should be restricted in Korea like in Europe.


The Republic of Korea. The weird country where the bastards who don’t respect laws are politicians.


Now, you’re being reckless. [Phrase used by President Roh in 2002, who called the chief of Busan’s Prosecutors’ Office asking him to cover a bribery scandal. Roh was asked ‘Don’t you think you undermined the prosecution’s neutrality?’ to which he ’Now, you’re being reckless.’]


You are one president who will truly go down in history!!!!!!! You fucking rat.


You are the definition of corrupt government official in this day and age.


They made a good deal. Park opposed to the pardons, taking care of her approval rate while Lee saved his friends. Win win. One month left until the end of his term. Is it impossible to impeach him? Can’t just let him get away like that.


President Lee Myung-bak enforcing pardons is pretty unbelievable, and he pardoned those supporters of Park who pretended to oppose his actions. Well played, sir, well played. Lee Myung-bak won’t be serving a second term and should bear responsibility anyway, and with Park Geun-hye trying to establish her ‘rule of law’ to the public eye, you are helping one another in oh-so-noble way. Even then, Ilbe will defend President-elect Park saying she’s different from the Lee government as well as the Saenuri Party, right? Ha.


Ah what a ssibal nom. He’s seriously the scum of society. When his term ends, he must go straight to hell. *must*… Ah what filth…


So you’ve been doing thievery with this as an escape in mind? You deserve to be hacked to pieces.


Wow this never ends, it’s just too much… A president that will just never stop ‘til the end.


The Saenuri Party still triumphs with all this bullshit… ke ke ke one fucking great country this is… he he he


The worst president ever.


He must be afraid. If he doesn’t set those prisoners free, they can blackmail him later.


Name of country: The Republic of Eternal Faith in Ilbe

Favourite Film: The Legend of 29,000 won [Former President Chun Doo-hwan said he lived off 290,000 won, or 300 USD a month]

Racial/Ethnic classification: Descendent of monkeys [monkeys being the derogatory term to designate the Japanese]

Flag: The Rising Sun

National bird: The ssip bird [in Korean, ‘ssip-sae’ sounds like the word for bastard]

National flower: The dictatorship [in Korean, national flower, or ‘gook-hwa’ (country flower), has the same ending as dictatorship, or ‘dok-jae-hwa’]

Language: Ukiki [sound monkeys make]

Public Holiday: The day Chun Doo-hwan was released from prison

Traditional folk music: Spiritual music [refering to the Japanese spirits]

Main industries: Fraud, creating rumors and spreading them on the Internet through private documents & falsification of official documents

The most prestigious award in the Republic of Eternal Faith in Ilbe: 290,000 won for cheating

Conditions for admittance into prestigious universities: Should excel in the mastery of forged documents.

Transport: Unknown because his moves are too sneaky.

Food: Cusses [in Korean, ‘to eat a cuss’ literally means to get cussed/criticized]

Medicine: Pesticide [to kill rats]

Table used to eat: N/A

Wake-up time: No one knows

Bed-time: When others work

Favourite nursing home: Prison

Favourite book: The Blessings of 290,000 won

Favourite cuss: commie, skate, left-wing commie

Fish he raises : Octopus [Chun Doo-hwan’s nickname]

Favourite bar snack: Octopus

Panacea : Chun Doo-hwan

Ruler used in maths class: Only-conservative-idiocy-should-proliferate ruler [the ending ‘ja’ sounds the same as ‘ruler’ in Korean]

Worst person: Clever people

Favourite person: Chun Doo-hwan

Favourite colour: Red

Dear Ilbe people, please memorize these encyclopaedia facts about your motherland, ke ke ke.


I’m shedding tears… ㅠ_ㅠ Gakka’s warm friendship…. A moving and beautiful story…


Aren’t you used to Lee Myung-back being shameless? Shitnuri Party ostensibly opposed the pardons but it was all part of the scheme. Geun-hye will probably give a special pardon to Myung-back bro on March 1st. Same old arrangement.


I knew it all along, ke ke.

He was trying to look good with his rejection of the Taxi law and then he turns around and back-stabs right on target! Ke ke.

Yes, his majesty stays true to his reputation~


Not long now ‘til the end of your term, and with that, you’ll get the last bang~ [The President’s Last Bang is a film depicting former President Park Chung-hee’s assassination]

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  • Brett

    I smell a rat.

    • vincent

      He sure looks like one haha

    • commander

      especially of a rotten rat

  • All South Korean presidents are just puppets of America.

  • Roihu

    I love that fresh smell of Democracy backfiring early in the morning.

  • elizabeth

    Never burn bridges, so they say…

    • lonetrey / Dan

      feels like he’s burning all the bridges he can since it doesn’t matter any more for him… (bridges with the public and etc.)

      • elizabeth

        Yes, true, he doesn’t need those useless old bridges but new ones or he’ll be dessert for the sharks.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    It kind of sucks that the only way people can do anything about this is by mocking him.

  • chucky3176

    This is why we need multi term presidency. Limiting the presidency to five year terms makes every one of these guys to not care, and only look after their own selfish interests after they leave office. He would never have dared to do this if he was still facing an election. Expand the presidency term lengths, and to eliminate possible abuses, change the constitution so that any pardons of past convictions must be approved by at least 2/3 of the parliament. Every Korean presidents have given massive pardons involving thousands of names, especially on Buddha’s birthday. It’s now become just a ludicrous tradition.

    • x1sfg

      You are kidding yourself. Almost ALL politicians are self-serving. It is just as bad in the US. 2mb would just have waited till his second term for pardons, and 2nd terms is when the gloves usually come off. Look at how stupid Obama and GWB were during their second terms.

      • Brett

        Obama is just starting his now…what do you mean, “during”?

        • x1sfg

          He just started, but let’s see… Unconstitutional regulations and attacks on the 2nd Amendment, verbally patronizing members of the press who don’t agree with him, appointing his cronies as cabinet members despite polarization, using the doj to push his own political agenda, using as many eo’s as FDR, the list is endless. Now before I get labeled as bias, I had the same problems with W and his Patriot Act. I am not going into specifics on the classified stuff both administrations have done

          • holdingrabbits

            People need to acknowledge that the constitution and its amendments are not pages from a holy book. Also, since when does being president mean that you can’t patronize people who’ve made it their personal mission to undermine you? The president totally has an agenda and that’s why people voted for him, because that’s how a republic works. I want to vote for someone whose agenda is ending things like gun ownership and war (Obama’s isn’t), but I don’t want to vote for someone with no agenda. I can hear the stump speeches now: “My fellow Americans, I really have no goals or ambitions. I will not use my power as the president to influence policy in a way that some people might disagree with. In fact, I will make a promise to you to make no decisions while in office.”

          • x1sfg

            You are wrong on so many levels. The Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights is BINDING. It is what limits government power and what prevents the citizens becoming subjects to its own govt. You need to relearn your history.

            The Bill of Rights, according to the Framers, isn’t what grants us these rights. They are natural rights of liberty everyone is entitled to, the Framers just had the foresight to put it on paper and bind the government because governments tend to take over the lives of citizens if history is any example.

            The 2nd Amendment is a means to prevent government tyranny, keeping the government under the citizens as well as the other amendments.

            The potus has an agenda, great. It is an entirely different thing to bully the press and threaten them to push your agenda, ala 1st Amendment.

          • holdingrabbits

            Still, it’s not the bible or anything. If they wanted, they could chuck it out, that’s how binding it is. Some hick with a bunch of guns isn’t going to be able to fight the government back anyway. If owning a gun provides you with the illusion of a chance against the United States military, then go for it.

            The press is able to exercise their first amendment rights, but according to you the president isn’t? How is the president threatening them? You’re a conspiracy theorist I’ll bet. I think we got our first whiff of that when you mentioned all the classified stuff you wouldn’t talk about (but which you almost certainly know for a fact). In this case, I would in fact argue that if a journalist has an agenda other than reporting the news in an unbiased fashion then they’re a bad journalist.

          • x1sfg

            If they chucked it out, the US government would no longer the type of government it is. You can’t just chuck it out, it shows how little you know about the Constitution. it’s a PITA just to get an amendment, but throwing it out altogether? Right, let’s get rid of the document that binds the government to the people. Obviously, it doesn’t fit their needs and desires.

            Some hick with a bunch of guns isn’t going to fight back the government? You’re forgetting that ALL military members, myself included, swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Unlike yourself, we take our oaths seriously and are willing to act on our convictions. We are obligated by our oath as well as the UCMJ to disobey any unlawful order, the supreme law being the Constitution and what it stands for. Laws from the CoC that go against the one thing we swore to defend is unlawful.

            “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

            Order of precedence goes Constitution > CoC

            We don’t swear allegiance to any king, queen, politician, or GO like other countries. We are obligated by law to obey lawful orders, but we don’t swear allegiance to them. We swear allegiance to some silly piece of parchment that can be thrown out as you put it.

            Will there be people in the military willing to fire on its own citizens and seize property and turn our backs on our oaths? Sure. But a large majority of us won’t. Same goes to many LEOs.

            If Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Checnya, Spain, the US, Cuba, Ireland, and so on has taught us anything, guerrilla warfare is one way to mitigate the advantage of a more technologically advanced enemy. Also, you forget that we used to be these same bunch of hicks defeated the most powerful empire of the time and the largest empire in history.

            Not only do you not know history, it seems you know nothing of gun owners. Gun owners aren’t just hicks. Hell, most our “elite” politicians or are surrounded by people who do despite their political stance.

            I’m a conspiracy theorist? No, I’m a realist and a cynic. I know people in general are messed up, selfish, and ignorant as a whole. As far as the classified stuff goes, you know nothing of my background but like I’ve said, I’ve been working for the federal government for longer than you’ve been alive. I have done stints with OGAs and I’ve also been around a lot of politicians throughout my career so I know the personality quirks of some. Actually, most of it is open source that we, the people, accepted or forced to accept in the name of security. I’ve worked with diplomats for other nations too, and it’s mostly the same. Some are just better at hiding their money or paper trail than others. Most are self-serving pricks who think they’re above everyone else. Some just publicly flaunt their dirty money (CCP).

            Not just the president, but most politicians threaten news agencies with cuts to funding through various channels, threats to invoke law enforcement or tax probes, and so on. I don’t see how you can even deny this. The whole political machine system all over the world depends on monetary contributions. You think a Congressman’s only source of income is their $150,000+ salary.

            Most mainstream journalists have an agenda other than reporting the news. News has become entertainment, pandering to their own demographic and target audience. You don’t think MSNBC, BBC, CNN, Fox News, syndicated radio, NPR have their biases? The news agencies are trying to make money, and they do that by pandering to their crowd. Hard news doesn’t sell. I find BBC the best at reporting hard news, but even the individual journalists and editors have their own biases, it’s human nature. Plus, I think many of the more big name journalists , editors, and reporters are just as self-serving and egotistic as politicians. Thank you, Geraldo Rivera for disclosing the information of US troops BEFORE an operation. Thank you Bob Costas, Sean Hannity, O’Reiley, Keith Olbermann, Matt Lauer, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Chris Matthews for giving us your two cents before and after every news report.

            I suggest you get a taste of the real world and how governments work all over the world before you come up with these totally asinine comments.

            Oh, btw, although I hate what President Obama is doing for the country, disagree with his ideas, and his methods which exploit legal loopholes, I still think he’s personally a good guy and means well for the nation. The guys I know who are on his detail and staff had good things to say about him as a person.

          • holdingrabbits

            They could chuck it out. I didn’t say it would be the same kind of government. We’re off topic and you’re a nut.

      • commander

        Politicians pursue private interests as others do. self-serving is one thing, and institutionalizing restraints in seeking private interest at the expense of public ones is another.

        A five-year single term presidency has been assessed as causing presidents to be irresponsible for their final days in office. The bottom line in chuckey’s argument is it is high time for South Korea to extend the presidential tenure which has been limited as a singe term, a system desigend to prevent a military dictatorship.

        Plus, part of blame for recurring high-profile corruption and irregularities goes to those who cast a ballot for venal politicians or abandon the right to vote.

    • holdingrabbits

      Reading your comment just gave me cancer.

    • dim mak

      What if they decided to just serve one term and not care what happens after?

  • ChuckRamone

    Filthy politician. I don’t think this helps Korea in the corruption rankings.

  • redgirls

    Brown envelope, enough said.

  • commander

    In the waning days from the presidency, he couldn’t be more transparent in showing his foolishness, absurdity and a perverse sense of justice by giving incomprensible clemency to those who should have been more harshly punished.

    Add to this real estate speculation, increasingly catastrophic four-river refurbishment, a cold-blooded crackdown operation in Yongsan, his signature political vendettas, filling key posts with yes men, subsequent incompetence, and deterioation in inter Korean ties over his flat denial of all achievements his predecessors made with the North out of jealosy.

    He goes down in history as the worst of worst.

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