[EDITORIALS]Fitting Behavior for Public Officials

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[EDITORIALS]Fitting Behavior for Public Officials

It's surprising to learn that one of the two owners of the "Castle of Dreams," an inn in Cheonan, South Chungchong province, that caught fire, causing the deaths of six people, was the head of a provincial police precinct. It further transpires that the head of the Sokcho branch office of the public prosecutors recently asked condominium companies to reserve some guest rooms in the summer vacation season for high officials. Both incidents make us think about the appropriate attitudes of government officials.

According to the police precinct head, he had bought the inn in June last year with another person, paying 500 million won ($380,000) each. He insists that reported 200 million won during the government officials' asset registration period and that he borrowed the rest of the money from his sibling and friends. After the fire, the man submitted a letter of resignation, saying that he felt a moral responsibility for the accident as a government official, even though he did not take any role in managing the inn. We're not so sure that the accident should be blamed solely on a lack of moral responsibility. It was wrong for him to buy an inn in a district where love hotels are concentrated. Maybe he will insist that it was a provision against his old age, but the excuse is still unacceptable for a government official.

Lodging facilities are supposed to be targets of police inspections in relation to minors' illegal sexual activities. How could we possibly expect the police to inspect the place properly when the owner is a police officer? The man had reportedly told reporters that "the police usually conduct light inspections on inns" and that he did not think inns were also targets of the police inspections. It's just surprising to hear this.

It's not new that powerful institutes ask condominium companies for room reservations for high government officials in holiday seasons. The companies reserve some rooms in advance to rent immediately to high officials upon request. Thus, the issue is not limited only to the head of Sokcho branch office. The situation must change now. The public does not acknowledge this rotten, traditional practice. The nation will stand properly when local governments possess the right sense of morality and justice.
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