Kangwon Land Firing Hundreds Amid Corruption Probe

More than 200 employees of South Korea’s Kangwon Land are losing their jobs as part of an investigation into corrupt hiring practices in the public sector. Former management at the government-owned casino, the only one in the country open to Koreans, reportedly awarded jobs as political favors.

Kangwon Land Firing Hundreds Amid Corruption Probe

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered the firing of 226 Kangwon Land employees who won jobs at the government-owned casino because of political ties to the previous administration.

The order was issued as part of what a Moon spokesman described as the president’s commitment to “swift and thorough measures against employment-related corruption at public organizations” and followed a series of raids by a special unit of the Supreme Prosecutors Office on the offices of Kangwon Land Inc. and the government department that oversees it, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism. The homes of three people, including a former senior official at the ministry, were also searched.

The raids included the office of Liberty Party Korea official Yeom Dong-yeol, who is alleged to have engineered dozens of the illegal hires.

The conservative Liberty Party lost control of the National Assembly in the wake of the corruption scandals that brought down President Park Geun-hye in 2016. Moon, who headed the liberal opposition Democratic Party of Korea, won the presidency last year in an election called after Park was impeached.

The illegal hires at Kangwon Land, the only casino in the country open to Korean nationals, were first uncovered in 2015, but the case was quickly closed with only former CEO Choi Heung-jip and one other employee charged.

The investigation was restarted in earnest after Moon took office last May and subsequently it was revealed that 493 of the 518 people hired at the casino during the latter part of Choi’s tenure got their jobs through connections with various “influential people,” in the company’s words.