PSPD in English Socio-Economic 2010-07-22   2979

President Lee makes “Big Deal” with former Chairman of Samsung

This is the comment in November, 2009

A Pardon Granted as an Incentive to Samsung’s Cooperation with Gov’t Policies of Moving the Headquarters of the Samsung to Sejong City

Former Chairman Lee Receiving a 2nd Pardon Shows His Position above the President

The Pardon Crushed ‘the Dignity of Nation’, the Rule of Law and Equality Before the Law

President Lee Myungbak decided to give a special pardon to a former chairman of Samsung, Lee Gunhee. This is surprising because there is no precedent for this case. The number of pardened people is the only one, but the unfairness of this case is much deeper than any other case from the past.

President Lee’s special pardon reminded Korean citizens that Lee Gunhee is special for he was able to go away from the society’s fundamental value of “equality before the law”. and he is jaebeol above all jaebeols and even the president of this country.

The expectation of CEOs being pardoned by the government as an economic stimulus measure has proven wrong. This can be explained by the fact that the government has blown their own horn while they excluded entrepreneurs from the Independence Day special pardon list last year. They wouldn’t enjoy being criticized by the public for reversing their own words several months after praising themselves for relieving incompatibility among social classes, as well as complying with the law and order.

In this manner, it would have been difficult for the government to give a special pardon to Lee Gunhee because it invigorated the economy. Instead, they are disguising the real purpose by mentioning that Lee would play a significant role in attracting the 2018 Olympic Games to be hosted in Pyoengchang. Since it is the hope of every Korean, the Lee administration seemed to expect the excuse would produce fewer complaints. But again, it is just a justification for hiding the deal between the Lee administration and the Samsung owner.

The actual reason why the government pardoned Chairman Lee is not because of the Olympics, but because President Lee has required the active assistance of the Samsung Group for government policies before the local election in June next year. President Lee Myung-bak expects the support of the Samsung Group regarding its relocation to Sejong City. Thus, this amnesty is a special favor to start up the field of biotechnology, Samsung Group’s new business for the future, would start in that city. Therefore, this pardon is “a big deal amnesty” between two people.

It is not fair to pardon Lee Gunhee just for hosting the Winter Olympic Games.

Korea’s prestige has been enhanced, joining G20 as well as the OECD. Korea already hosted or will host various international events such as, of course, the Summer Olympic Games, the Asian Games, World Cup, the International Track and Field Meet, and EXPO 2012 Yeosu, Korea.

Special Proscutors Team investigated the case of the chairman Lee, the Judicial Courts tried to reveal the truth and support the justice, and it has passed only 5months after the judgment of criminal tiral was announced. Therefore, it is a real shame that in this globalized situation of Korea, the Lee administration gave a special pardon to the person for attracting the Olympics.

The fundamental value of equality before the law was abandoned. Moreover, overusing of  the right of pardon is resulted in the collapse of rule of law and criminal jurisdiciary system out of the imfringement of the jurisdiction; that means the collapse of the ‘dignity of the country’. President Lee himself devaluated the country, who reproached parliamentarians physicaly fighting and citizens for protesting in rallies.

Former Chariman, Lee Gunhee, was already granted pardon during the National Foundation Day amnesty in October 1997 after the conviction in the Noh Tae-woo slush fund scandal. Therefore, Lee Gunhee became a person who was granted amnesty twice.
The fact that the leader of the Samsung Group has absolute power as he was granted amnesty twice in Korea gave us the deep frustrattion.
President Lee Myungbak emphasized the establishment of law, and used the police to confront the people who was removed for the urban redevelopment in Yongsan; they protested on the roof of a building and some of them lost their lives due to the excessive force used by police, but he didn’t console the bereaved families of Yong-san squatters who did not need to lose their lives. President Lee and the government, however, gave a second gift of amnesty and reinstatement to Samsung and Former Chairman, Lee Gunhee. They are waiting for the great gift of Chairman Lee’s favor in government policies.

Today, the spirit of rule of law tells us governing should be done by law and the spirit of law not by the will of people in power. The fundamental value of democracy tells us all people are equal before the law irrespective of their ranks, social influences, and the size of wealth.

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