[EDITORIALS]Golf Wagers Only Part of This CaseAfter the prosecutors sought a warrant for the detention of Park Soon-seok, chairman of the Shinan Group, on charges of gambling on golf games and opening a private gambling parlor, attention has been focused on the details of this case. Mr. Park has denied the charges, accusing the prosecutors of conducting an unjustifiable and unreasonable investigation, amplifying the people's doubts on the prosecutors office.
According to the charges listed by the prosecutors, Mr. Park degraded golf, considered the most gentlemanly of sports, to nothing more than a gambling game, causing shame among golfers and golf fans. Because Mr. Park was introduced as a leading golfer who contributed to establishing a new golf culture in Korea in a golf magazine recently, people found the prosecutors' argument that he gambled on games and ignored golf etiquette hard to believe. He wagered as much as 1 million won ($770) a shot and often won tens of million won during a round, according to prosecutors. If this is so, to say he was morally paralyzed is not an exaggeration .
Many people are mulling the reason given by the prosecutors for detaining Mr. Park. The prosecutors' argument that he was arrested purely on charges of illegal gambling seemed too weak. Some saw doubts about Mr. Park's rapidly growing business and his alleged cozy connections with influential politicians as another side of this case. In fact, he took over a country club, with a 36 hole golf course, without spending a dime of his own money. Mr. Park, a Cholla native, is involved in construction and leisure industries.
At the prosecutors' investigation, Mr. Park insisted that "prosecutors are trying to tie me up by conducting unjustifiable investigations with unreasonable charges, and I was detained because of something related to money." Suspects tend to attempt to lighten the charges they face. Mr. Park seems to be trying to add charges. The opposition party argues that the prosecutors hastily arrested Mr. Park to stop growing suspicions on the on-going Lee Yong-ho case.
Suspicion grows when left alone. Before this case burdens the Kim administration, prosecutors should thoroughly explain the charges against Mr. Park and clear away the people's doubts.