Corruption in South Korea

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Corruption in South Korea is moderate compared to most countries in the Asia-Pacific and the broader international community. Transparency International's 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index scored South Korea at 63 on a scale between 0 ("highly corrupt") and 100 ("very clean"). When ranked by score, South Korea ranked 31st among the 180 countries in the Index, where the country ranked first is perceived to have the most honest public sector. [1] For comparison, the best score was 90 (ranked 1), and the worst score was 12 (ranked 180).[2]

Notable cases[edit]

President Park Geun-hye was found guilty in 16 charges, including abuse of power and bribery, then she was imprisoned for 25 years.[3] Another former president Lee Myung-bak was also charged with corruption scandals involving major companies in 2018 and he was sentenced 17 years in jail.[4]

Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was sentenced for 25 years in prison due to corruption scandals.

As a result of such scandals, coupled with other incidents, such as the Sewol disaster, a 2015 report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that "[a]almost 70 percent of South Koreans distrust their government, while less than 30 percent of them are confident in the nation's judicial system." This rate is significantly lower than the OECD average, which was 41.8 percent. Despite South Korea's low public confidence rate in 2015, it was at least a step up from the rate in 2007 by 10 percentage points.[5]

The government has taken steps to fight corruption, such as the Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistle-Blowers which protect whistleblowers who report public and private corruption as well as foreign bribery. Public services have also been digitalised in order to avoid opportunities for corruption.[6] However, large chaebols pose significant difficulties as illicit business behaviour is still common among them. Some of the large conglomerates have been involved in tax evasion and corruption, and their powerful role in South Korea's economy has made corruption investigation very difficult.[7]

Notable incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The ABCs of the CPI: How the Corruption Perceptions Index is calculated". Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Corruption Perceptions Index 2022: South Korea". Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  3. ^ "South Korean court raises ex-president Park's jail term to 25 years". Reuters. 24 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Supreme Court upholds 17-year sentence against ex-president Lee". The Korea Herald. 29 October 2020.
  5. ^ Claire Lee (9 August 2015). "Korea Herald".
  6. ^ "The Republic of Korea Corruption Profile". Business Anti-Corruption Portal. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Korea Will Probe Chaebol Executives Named in Tax-Evasion Reports". Bloomberg. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2014.

External links[edit]