President Park Geun-hye suffers embarrassment this week as the vice minister of justice resigns just six days into his job due to a sex scandal riveting the country. Vice Minister Kim Hak-eui is the latest cabinet appointee to give up his post after a series of Park’s choices renounced their ministerial candidacies for ethical failings highlighted by opposition lawmakers. It is alleged that a video recording shows Kim having sex with a woman at the country villa of a construction magnate seeking government contracts, and that other similar videos implicate numerous high-level officials, including the former chief of national police.
The Korean media have found that President Park’s office, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, and the police knew the existence of the video well before Kim’s appointment. Kim had reportedly been questioned about the recording during the vetting process but is known to have emphatically disavowed connection. His resignation has brought about intense speculation over who will be the next political figure to suffer the fallout from the scandal. The police has referred the video in question to the National Forensic Service for analysis, in an effort to determine the identities of persons featured. In the meantime, the businessman at the center of the scandal faces yet another accusation, this time of possessing illicit substances, some of which may have been provided to guests attending parties at his villa.
The scandal has again shaken the trust of ordinary Korean in the country’s elite, whose dirty laundry is often aired during confirmation hearings for high-level government posts. Such past wrongdoings have included avoidance of mandatory military service, real estate speculation, fake changes of address to obtain favorable school assignments for children, and improper ties to the private sector. But the latest scandal with all its lurid details is proving to be the last straw for a citizenry already disillusioned with the country’s state of affairs amid uncertainty posed by North Korea’s blusterous brinkmanship.
From Yonhap News:
Aftermath of “Sexual Favor Scandal”: Vice Minister of Justice Resigns
Denies Involvement after His Name Surfaces, Chooses to Step down Six Days after Taking Office
Scandal to Widen Due to Rumor of Extensive High-Level Involvement
A story of a construction magnate offering women to prominent citizens for sex at his exclusive villa is spreading, and its latest casualty is the vice minister of justice.
Vice Minister Kim Hak-eui said on the 21st, “Not everything is true, but I recognize that I cannot do my job while my name and office are defamed.”
But with the rumor growing that other high-level figures are also connected to the scandal, its impact will likely intensify.
The start of the scandal goes back to last November.
A businesswoman in her fifties, known only as “A,” reported a construction firm owner Yun to the Seocho District Police in Seoul, saying, “last November Yun (52) and his acquaintance B (44) lured me to Yun’s villa in Wonju, Kangwon Province, drugging me in the car and then sexually assaulting me.”
A argued that B had recorded the sexual assault on his cell phone and Yun had blackmailed her into giving him 2 billion KRW (18 million USD) by threatening to distribute the video.
Following A’s complaint, the Seocho Police arrested Yun and B, obtaining an air gun, drugs, and a cell pohone during a search of the residence and car.
The Seocho Police determined that it was difficult to apply the sexual assault or blackmail charge given that A and Yun had been in a romantic relationship, sending the case to the Prosecutor’s Office with a recommendation that those charges not be filed. But they sought charges for recording the sexual encounter and possessing a gun, which were in violation of the law.
What might have ended rather banally turned into an explosive scandal when a story broke that Yun had offered women to influential figures for sex and recorded the encounters.
The mainstream view is that sex was for current and former government officials who in return gave a favorable treatment to Yun’s bids for state contracts, and the videotapes were his ammunition if things went wrong or he wished to demand money.
Among those who are suspected of receiving sexual favors at Yun’s villa are Vice Minister of Justice Kim who resigned as well as an unnamed figure in the legal field, former Chief of National Police Heo Jun-young, and a well-known hospital president.
Given the public interest in the case, the Special Investigation Unit of the policy agency has been entrusted with determining whether in fact there was illegal lobbying involving sexual favors and if implicated figures had exercised any influence over Yun’s business fortune.
The police have also obtained testimony that there are video recordings of the alleged encounters. They are analyzing one video footage believed to be connected to the sexual favors.
Specific testimonies have also surfaced with regard to the quantity of the video recording, estimated to be seven CDs in total, as well as the specifics of sex acts performed by the implicated figures. The authorities have yet to admit to the existence of other videos.
While suspicion grows, those caught up in the scandal are vigorously denying involvement, and the incident is becoming a full-scale search for the truth.
As the scandal developed, a number of media outlets began discussing the name of Vice Minister Kim as one of those implicated in the sexual favor scandal.
It prompted him to issue a denial through a spokesperson at the Ministry of Justice. But It is believed that even the office of the president felt discomfort that a high-level official was involved in this ugly rumor as the administration wrestles with its own problem regarding the backgrounds of many nominees it sought for cabinet appointments.
Once his name became public, the vice minister announced his resignation through the Ministry of Justice the next day. While he continues to proclaim his innocence, he has stated hat he will seek to fight for his honor as an ordinary citizen. It was only six days after he took the office on the 15th of this month.
Comments from Daum:
Show us the video. I am dying of curiosity.
The Samsung recording incident was buried even though it was a typical bribery case. And unbelievably only Assemblyman No Hui-chan was punished. Despite all the evil committed by the prosecutor’s office, no prosecutor was ever properly punished. We must reveal the true nature of the case in the spirit of uprooting all evil. Is being a prosecutor about taking money, receiving sexual favors, and acting like a thief about the law? I only wish they stole only one tenth of what they were stealing under Lee Myung-bak. This is why people say, “The rich are innocent, the poor are guilty.”
I marvel at Pak Geun-hye’s psychic-like ability to pick only the craziest bastards [for her cabinet].
I can’t stand to watch political news nowadays. This is not a tabloid, and yet orgies, chains, and whips… What is this? Ke ke ke.
At this rate Park Geun-hye will be appointing officials for one full year. Take the oath and resign and take the oath and resign. What kind of political party is this? This administration…they should all kill themselves. At least this did not happen when the Democratic Party was in power. There were scandals but at least they were in love with each other. What are you? Sons of bitches? Just want to blow your noses?
Cocks may be the smallest in the world, but the fuckups are world-class.
[Vice Minister,] you must be sorry. It’s the same culture as when you were a prosecutor but you got caught as a minister.
Tsk, tsk, nothing changes!
As you say, it’s not the sexual favor that’s the problem, it’s the price of the sexual favor. Get to the bottom of it and place them under arrest for the interviews.
Lies that even a dog wouldn’t believe. Obviously you have something to hide so you will resign first and respond later. Ke ke ke. Why resign if you have nothing to hide? There hasn’t even been any result or evidence yet.
Completely rotten. The Korean leadership is so rotten. These are the people who are making legal judgments. Ke ke ke ke. It’s just funny. Ke ke ke ke. Let’s clean it all up at this opportunity.
Even demanding a sexual favor should be included in the definition of rapist. Nobody offers sex as a favor out of desire. Think of Jang Ja-yeon… This requires a reinterpretation of the law. Let’s change the law so that the culture allowing these human lumps of corruption to demand sex from young women can never persist.
Fuckers. A vice minister taking his clothes off? We should all cut off and grind up their cocks. You are not human. Never pretend to be an elite again. Go to prison. If you really want service, you crazy bastards, get it from your wives. Is it right to do this to young women, you old, ugly things? Sickening.
Ordinary Koreans and low-ranking bureaucrats are working till 11 pm everyday even on the weekend for next to nothing, only to commit suicide. The higher-ups live enjoying perverted sexual favors. Put it up on a p2p sharing site. Title it “Vice Minister Kim and a Beauty.” (no mosaic treatment) This is why that North Korean monster Kim Chongnam looks down on South Korea. Because the leadership [here] isn’t much different from themselves [in the North]. Even if there is unification, the leaders won’t be feeling much distance from one other.
Why isn’t he facing it head-on if it’s untrue? This arrogant administration, ignoring the opinion of the media that there is a terrible flaw in its cabinet selection process, you will soon be struck down by the people for being deaf to their voice.
Hmm… Who will investigate and punish whom?