South Korean prime minister takes heat for golf game
The No. 2 man in the South Korean government is on the hot seat for a scandal that’s escalating by the hour. No, he didn’t embezzle money or take bribes. And, no, he didn’t get caught with a hostess at a karaoke bar. What Prime Minister Lee Hae-Chan did was something most of us do routinely. He played golf on his day off.
Lee, who is second in command to President Roh Moo-hyun, spent Wednesday on the golf course. Wednesday in Korea was a national holiday marking a 1919 civil uprising against colonialist Japan. It was also the first day of a nationwide railway strike, which had the whole country in disarray. Koreans expect their high government officials to work overtime during a crisis but Lee played golf anyway, which apparently was a big mistake in judgment.
It seems his golf partners were the same guys who made illegal contributions during the 2002 presidential election in which Roh and Lee were elected. Roh already had been forced to apologize for his subordinates’ actions in that previous scandal. If this golf course story gets worse, the Korean government could be on shaky ground.
President Roh was away on a working trip in Africa and hasn’t commented. Lee issued a statement apologizing for his “incautious” actions and said he would talk to the president when he returned from his trip. This was interpreted as a hint that he planned to resign.
Just imagine if we all had to quit our jobs for playing golf on our day off!
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