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[Editorial] Gambling Apologies Enough?

Posted August. 30, 2006 03:01,   


Prime Minister Han Myeong-suk apologized yesterday to the nation over the recent gambling scandal and the government`s inadequate management of the local gambling industry. However, if her intention was simply to limit the gambling fiasco to policy failures, she miscalculated. With the unfolding scandals, it is fair to say that the failure of state affairs resulted in this event, not a policy failure. It is not that simple to put an end to this gambling fiasco with an empty apology. The president Roh must admit the failure of state affairs and apologize.

Kim Seung-gyu, the director of the National Intelligence Service said the day before yesterday at the national assembly, “We have identified signs of serious adverse effects of the gambling industry since 2004 and reported it to Cheong Wa Dae.”

Last September, the prime minister presided over a ministerial-level meeting to discuss solutions to the issue and the fact was also confirmed that the taskforce was established involving the ministry of culture and tourism, the prosecution, the police, the National Tax Service and National Intelligence Service to deal with the issue. Given that, it is not right for the president to blame the outbreak of the scandal for others.

This event is attributed to the overall failure of state affairs ranging from the incompetence and irresponsibility of the government to allow the game industry and game parlor operators to easily receive licenses and to issue gift certificates to its inability to prevent diverse irrationalities and illegitimacies. In other words, the overall national institutional system breaks down sufficiently enough not to effectively respond to the issue even though the national anti-injustice early warning system has rung several times.

Jeong Dong-chae, Uri Party representative and then the minister of the culture and tourism, should reveal the background of this scandal. Yesterday, he expressed his decision to resign as a member of the standing committee under the national emergency committee as he felt like he should serve in a war as a commoner. But it is hard to accept his decision simply on the face of it. He should make public what he knows about the event before he steps down from his meaningless position. As for him, cooperating with the ongoing investigation into the scandal is the right attitude, although he said all doubts would be cleared when the results of the investigation come to light.

As the investigation is evolving, the gambling scandal is more likely to become the kind of corruption by political power. In this illicit event, there are still many unsolved doubts, including a gift issuer whose largest share is owned by the family of an administrator in Cheong Wa Dae, his movement from his 27-year-old position in the local tax service to Cheong Wa Dae, and his sudden disappearance. Do you believe that all suspects can be buried only with empty apologies and a resignation?