Saturday, September 08, 2007

Power and Immunity

It has been reported that Hyundai Motor's Chairman, Mr Chung Mong-Koo, will not be doing jail time even though he was convicted by the 3-judge Seoul High Court for embezzlement because he was deemed too important to the Korean economy. Apparently, Mr Chung is a very hands-on CEO at Hyundai Motor, reputedly the world's 6th largest, in more ways than one (wink-wink). The court reckoned his doing time in jail (he was sentenced to 3 years) would do more harm to the economy and that therefore, he shouldn't be kept in the slammer.

I have never heard a more ridiculous argument from the bench. The less-than-learned judge said, "I am also a citizen of the Republic of Korea...I was unwilling to engage in a gamble that would put the (nation's economy) at risk." Did Judge Lee Jae-hong just deify Mr Chung? In the days when Korea had emperors, this statement, if it referred to the emperor, would have been accepted without question. But in democratic Korea where even its Presidents have been sued and thrown out ever so often?

There is a lesson to be learnt here. If you want to succeed in life and gain immunity from the law, don't do politics. Instead, set up a business and gain influence as much as possible. As far as South Korea goes, that's your ticket to doing whatever you want. The law will always stand on your side, never mind if you are crooked and rotten to the core.

The law in South Korea has sunk to a new low.