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[Editorial] Superiors Also Be Held Accountable for Bribed Visas

[Editorial] Superiors Also Be Held Accountable for Bribed Visas

Posted November. 11, 2002 22:56,   


It has transpired that government officials working overseas had traded their duties for money. They had issued visas to unqualified applicants. It is not a matter to be wrapped up by arresting one or two. It is a serious crime. They have defamed the dignity of our nation`s sovereignty by allowing ineligible people to enter our nation with illegally issued visas. What a prosecutor said tells us a lot. He said, "Even a spy can obtain our citizenship by buying a visa for \10 million." The problem has reached a serious level. It is a big problem for illegal aliens to come into Korea, and work or stay without permission. But, guess what would happen if a spy could come in at his/her convenience and obtain the citizenship, threatening the national security? Our national agencies have operated with such a big loophole in the system. It`s more than a serious problem.

First, we have to hold the officials in managerial position for their negligence in monitoring such a serious crime. The two officials, currently being locked up, namely former consul Yang Seung-kwon to Beijing and vice-consul Choi Jong-kwan to Sung Yang, are with the Justice Ministry. But they were diplomats while in China under the control of the ambassador. Thus, it is necessary to hold their high-ups who took charge at that time. In addition, Yang and Choi had received bribes over a long period of time and issued visas illegally. If their superiors performed his duties correctly and adequately, they should have known the illegal trade that was carried out over a long time, involving issuance of visas to hundred of unqualified Korean-Chinese.

The responsibility of the Justice Ministry is heavier. Yang and Choi was summoned back by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade after their misconduct was uncovered through the ministry`s auditing. But, the Justice Ministry assigned Choi to the subdivision head of the customs office at the Incheon International Airport, and Yang to the head of the customs office at the Kimhae International Airport. How could they get the positions while being suspected of misconduct? It`s like putting the keys to the bank safes into the hands of the bank robbers. They have maintained illegal connections with illegal visa agencies. But they have managed to retain the jobs related to immigration!

It`s high time for the government to overhaul its internal regulations and procedures in selecting officials in charge of visa issuance. That way, the government can prevent the same corruption from occurring again. The government should also conduct an intensive probe into our consulates to Southeast Asian countries where numerous foreign nationals are eager to come to Korea.