Corruption in South Korea

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According to 2016 results of Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, South Korea ranks 52th place out of 176 countries.[1] [2]

More recently, in 2015, Lee Wan-koo, former prime minister of South Korea, resigned after being embroiled in a corruption scandal, which has also damaged the reputation of the president, Park Geun-hye. Lee Wan-koo had become prime minister in February 2015. But two months into his job, Sung Wan-jong, a construction tycoon, committed suicide, leaving a note accusing those who had received money from him. The former prime minister was on this list. Lee Wan-koo initially denied the accusation and showed no intention of vacating his position. However, he ultimately offered his resignation.[3]

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]lmost 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Notable incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Corruption Perception Index 2016". 
  2. ^ Transparency International e.V. "2014 Corruption Perceptions Index -- Results". 
  3. ^ Stephen Evans. "BBC News". 
  4. ^ Claire Lee. "Korea Herald". 
  5. ^ "The Republic of Korea Corruption Profile". Business Anti-Corruption Portal. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Korea Will Probe Chaebol Executives Named in Tax-Evasion Reports". Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

A world map of the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International