South Korean lawmakers charged over Kangwon Land hiring scandal


Two South Korean opposition lawmakers have been charged in connection with their alleged involvement in the hiring scandal inside the Kangwon Land casino.

South Korean lawmakers charged over Kangwon Land hiring scandalKBS World Radio reported that Rep. Yeom Dong-yeol and Rep. Kweon Seong-dong, members of the conservative Liberty Korea Party, were indicted for abuse of power and business interference following allegations that they wielded their influence to ensure the employment of their acquaintances in Kangwon Land.

The case against Kweon and Yeom stemmed from the investigation conducted by South Korean prosecutors against former Kangwon Land CEO Choi Heung-jip, who was accused of hiring hundreds of people based on their political connections.

The hiring scandal, which rocked the governing Democratic Party, was dubbed ‘Kangwon Land Gate.’ It was also described as “a crime which would have been possible only in the 1960s or ‘70s.”

During their investigation, prosecutors alleged that Kweon’s former secretary, only identified in local news reports as Kim, bagged a managerial-level job for checking water quality at the casino after the politician pulled some strings.

Kangwon reportedly had a list of applicants—33 job seekers to be exact—but Choi ordered officials to hire Kim.

The state lawyers found that a total of 50 individuals landed a job at the casino because of their ties to Kweon and Yeom. The prosecutors earlier sought to have Yeom arrested, but parliament refused to hand him over to the authorities. Kweon managed to get a judge to quash the arrest warrant request against him.

Last year, Kangwon Land’s operator issued an official statement admitting that 493 of the 518 people hired between July 2011 and February 2014 got their jobs primarily on the strength of their ties to politicians or other influential figures.

In March, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered the dismissal of 226 Kangwon Land employees after learning that they secured their jobs through unlawful means.

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