South Korea’s president ordered on Thursday the sacking of 226 employees of casino operator Kangwon Land Inc judged following a probe to have got their jobs via unfair means, reported Yonhap news agency, citing the presidential office.
“President Moon Jae-in… ordered the government to take swift and thorough measures against employment-related corruption at public organisations, best known by the Kangwon Land case,” spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a press briefing that day, as quoted by Yonhap.
The person added that the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy would immediately begin the dismissal process. The ministry oversees the operations of Kangwon Land gaming resort (pictured), the only casino open to local residents in South Korea.
Korea JoongAng Daily additionally reported that the unfairly-hired individuals were relieved of their duties on February 5, but still retained their status as employees of the casino company because they had yet to be indicted.
According to media reports from the country, prosecutors had announced on March 8 that they were raiding the offices of two Liberty Korea Party lawmakers, Yeom Dong-yeol and Kweon Seong-dong.
Korea JoongAng Daily said Representative Yeom is facing allegations he requested the casino firm’s human resources department to hire 46 applicants in 2012. When 19 of them failed to get in, Mr Yeom requested a new hiring process for them, resulting in seven of them landing jobs with the company a few months later.
On March 10, prosecutors reportedly raided the home of a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism who allegedly asked Kangwon Land to hire four individuals in return for helping the casino get approval to build facilities.
Stamping out influence peddling in corporate recruitment has been a prominent theme in President Moon’s administration. The alleged wrongdoing at Kangwon Land reportedly began six years ago, during the time of a different presidential administration, with a first public prosecution linked to the matter having taken place in 2015.
A former chief executive of the casino operator was formally arrested in December on charges of influence peddling while in post.
Kangwon Land casino resort is in a remote upland area of Kangwon province, 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the capital Seoul.
The casino operator is said to be under political pressure in general terms, as the South Korean government seeks to limit revenue expansion for all forms of locals-focused gambling. The company has been ordered to slim the daily opening hours of its gaming venue at its sole casino resort, starting from April 1.
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Andrew Lo Kai Bong
Executive director of project investor Suncity Group