“She’s just a puppet”: DHS Reacts to South Korea Corruption Scandal


Turmoil in presidencies seems to be a recurring theme these past few months. In the United States, Donald Trump’s unforeseen victory has sparked outrage and violent protests, even close to home. In Bulgaria, Pro-Russia candidate Rumen Radev appears poised to win the presidency, upsetting many. An accusation of corruption against South Korean President Park Geun-hye has elicited passionate protests and massive public outlash against the presidency in South Korea.

Park has been accused of allowing her family friend Choi Soon-sil to influence government decisions. Under pressure from the public, she has admitted to giving Choi access to her speeches early on in her term. There is also a possibility that Choi had access to confidential information which Park had allowed her to see.

Furthermore, Park faces accusations of influencing large corporations such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor Group to make ‘donations’ totaling nearly $70 million to foundations owned by Choi.

Choi was placed under detention at the beginning of November, and she faces charges of fraud and abuse of authority.

The South Korean public has demanded Park’s impeachment in multiple protests. Just last Saturday, a rally in Seoul set the record as the largest demonstration in 30 years, numbering upward of 260,000 people. This crowd gathered in front of the president’s office and residence, the Blue House, shouting, “You are surrounded! Park Geun-hye, come out and surrender!”

More violent actions have been directed toward Ms. Choi. One man drove an excavator through the gate of the prosecutor’s office, while another tried to heave a tub of excrement at her.

DHS Reacts

The Dublin Shield interviewed several students to learn about their perspectives on this issue.

Many students felt that Choi and Park were obviously guilty and that they deserved to be punished.

“I believe that it was mainly the fault of Choi Soon-sil,” said sophomore Elizabeth Liu. “It’s clear that Choi had selfish intentions, and she used her relationship with the president to extort money and influence other powerful political figures close to the president.”

Sophomore Iris Lu expressed concern about the possibility that such corruption might occur in the US government. “This can happen to other countries in the future,” she said. “Especially with the new President-Elect, Donald Trump, who has been the center of numerous KKK scandals (his campaign never denied that the KKK was supporting him), this problem may arise in the US government.”

Senior Tony Kim was unsurprised by the incident, being familiar with the many scandals and bribes which have tainted the South Korean presidency since the nation’s conception. “Like many Koreans, I think that she’s just a puppet who never responds to national issues effectively. She is already infamous with the terrible mishandling of other issues, and young people especially do not trust her at all.”

“In a way,” he concluded, “this scandal was a sort of a final nail in the coffin.”