Prime Minister Nominee Grilled Over Ethical Qualifications
The prime minister nominee, Chung Hong-won, worked for 10 years as a public prosecutor before moving to a private law firm in 2004.
Until June of that year, Chung was paid about 65-hundred U.S. dollars every month as a senior prosecutor -- however, after going into private practice, his monthly income jumped to more than 18-thousand dollars.
The special parliamentary committee overseeing his hearing alleged that Chung received special treatment from his former colleagues when he went into private practice.
However, Chung said he didn't receive any special treatment, pointing out that he worked as a lawyer for just three months after retiring.
"Even if there was some sort of special treatment, it was only for three months for me. I began to work for the Central Election Management Committee after that three-month period."
Chung served as a member of the Central Election Management Committee from late 2004 to 2006 before returning to the same law firm, Logos.
Another issue on the table was how Chung's only son was exempted from compulsory military service.
In 1997, the nominee's son passed the physical examination, something that is required before being drafted, with flying colors and was rated first-class.
However, seven years later in 2001, the draft board ruled that he was unfit to serve in the military due to a spinal disc problem.
"With physical therapy or treatment, he gets better. But he has to be careful at all times. If he's not careful when lifting something or standing up, he feels acute pain."
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Although records do show Chung's son had back problems, the lawmakers said it was questionable how he managed to study for and pass the bar exam, which requires a lot of sitting behind a desk.
The prime minister nominee also came under fire for what appears to be property speculation.
A lawmaker pointed out that Chung purchased land in the Dongrae district of Busan back in 1978, but not for the purpose of housing.
He said Chung sold the property later on, leaving him with a huge profit margin.
However, Chung denied the allegations, saying he did not have any previous knowledge of the property's value.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.
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