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Election Bribery Scandal

Posted February. 16, 2008 03:23,   

한국어

○ A Hotbed of Brokers

A total of six independent candidates ran for the mayoral election in Yeongcheon City, North Gyeongsang Province in 2007. Three came out strong and three weak during the campaign period. The Grand National Party had not nominated any candidate as in Cheongdo. Kim, with 5,300 votes, was second to last.

Kim was considering dropping out of the race due to his low approval rating in polls, despite the fact that he was once the chairman of the Yeongcheon City Council and representative of the North Gyeongsang Province.

An election broker Seo (43•arrested) stubbornly encouraged Kim to run for office, saying that “it is possible to win sufficient votes for nomination if you properly take advantage of the party organization.” Seo took 74 million won from Kim.

Seo, one of the secretaries of a former Yeongcheon mayor, had approached Kim, saying, “Though it usually takes 500 million won to be nominated by the party, about 300 million won would be enough to use party members this time since there was no nomination.”

It was found out that Seo had succeeded in winning Kim’s trust by boasting the fact that his younger brother is an assemblyman of the local electorate.

To have 300 million won ready in cash, Kim urgently borrowed 150 million won from Seo’s relative.

○ Cows Bought with Campaign Money

After deciding to run for the election, Kim dole out a total of 145 million won to 31 people including Jeong, head of the Yeongcheon liaison office of the GNP and election broker, and heads of residents’ associations and women’s groups.

They in turn distributed a total of 74 million won to 24 people, including Kim (60•arrested), in charge of dong /eup/ myeon (the smallest administrative units), in sums ranging from 1 million won to 13 million won for each. It is suspected that about 30 million won out of this money was offered to voters in sums of 50,000 won or 100,000 won for each.

The rumor that taking the role of an election broker or liaison brings one a big money was also found to be true. One of the campaigners received 7 million won for his work and bought a cow with it. Another campaigner was about to buy some crop field.

Kim also handed over 5 million won to Yim, chairman of the Yeongcheon City Council, in Yim’s car, asking him “to give a hand through the organization.”

Kim also gave 2 million won to a Yeongcheon City councilor, who asserts the money was returned soon afterward.

Police is investigating the case based on its presumption that about 100 voters took money from Kim.



boriam@donga.com