Korean opposition parties have called for a joint parliamentary probe into the alleged widespread practice of public agencies, including state-owned casino operator Kangwon Land, illegally hiring staff via political and company connections.
The move follows revelations that around 2,000 of the 17,084 employees of Seoul Metro, the local government-run operator of Seoul’s Metropolitan Subway, were in some way related. Another employee at the Korean Red Cross was found to have hired his nephew despite other officials insisting he wasn’t qualified.
The scandals come just 12 months after Kangwon Land, the only casino in Korea to allow locals gambling, was found to have hired 493 of its 518 new employees between 2012 and 2013 via political connections. Korean President Moon Jae-in subsequently ordered the firing of 226 illegally hired Kangwon Land employees earlier this year while two leading members of South Korea’s opposition Liberty Korea Party were indicted in July for their part in the corruption scandal.
Representatives Kweon Seong-dong and Yeom Dong-yeol were charged with abuse of power and business interference, accused of exerting undue pressure in requesting friends and acquaintances be hired as trainees at the casino.
Ironically, it is the floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party, Kim Sung-tae, who now says he will join opposition parties the Bareunmirae Party and the Party for Democracy and Peace in conducting a full investigation of all recent scandals.
According to the Korea Herald, Liberty Korea Party leader Kim Byong-joon also stated that the current cases may be just “the tip of an iceberg.”