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[Opinion] Golf Fraud

Posted March. 15, 2006 03:03,   


If you score a hole-in-one on a par three, the Korea Golf Association will send you a certificate and commemorative cap. The certificate reads, “You hit a hole-in-one: the shot of a lifetime.”

The probability of an average golfer getting a hole-in-one is one in 13,000, or once out of 3,250 rounds. A professional golfer’s odds of a hole-in-one are four times that. Out of about 300 golf clubs nationwide, 85 are members of the Korea Golf Association. Their members reported 155 holes-in-one this year and 1,971 last year.

It is said that a hole-in-one always brings luck. Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan took office the year after he made a hole-in-one in 2003, although golf has dealt a blow to his political career recently. These days, people say that if you get a hole-in-one, you will be lucky for seven years, and if you watch somebody make a hole-in-one, you will be lucky for five years.

We may be living in a world where luck rarely comes, however. To compensate, golf insurance schemes have become popular. If you pay into 150,000-300,000 won monthly, you can receive 500,000 to two million won for a hole-in-one. If you pay extra, you can receive up to five million won.

Will a fake hole-in-one also bring luck? Four golfers in South Jeolla province in Korea made false reports that they made six holes-in-one in one year and received some 60 million won from three insurers. They secretly hid a ball in the hole of a par-3 beforehand, and shouted that they had hit a hole-in-one.

Cho Il-kwon, the leader of a crime investigation team for the Gwangju Southern Police, said, “Some caddies did not believe the golfers.” Two of the fraudsters were released on probation; the other two are wanted by police.

Insurance fraud involving traffic accidents is more common. In about 20,000 insurance fraud cases identified last year, over 60 percent of them were related to exaggeration of damages from car accidents, and fraudulent accidents. Yang Wang-seung, the team leader of the insurance investigation office at the Financial Supervisory Service, said, “A new cognitive examination system introduced in 2004 picks up on suspicious insurance deals.” If the content of insurance deals and personal information from those insured are input into the system, suspicious cases can be identified in only two to three hours. Happiness should not be pursed through fraudulent means.

Hong Kwon-hee, Editorial Writer, konihong@donga.com