[EDITORIALS]Money for a poor boy

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[EDITORIALS]Money for a poor boy

We are schocked by the allegations that two directors of the National Intelligence Service gave some sort of an allowance to the president's second son, Kim Hong-up. Former Director Lim Dong-won and Director Shin Kuhn are said to have given 35 million won ($30,000) in total to Kim Hong-up for his vacations and personal expenses. Apart from the amount of money Mr. Kim received, we are wondering how such a practice could possibly take hold in the NIS.

The donors said that the money was not from the NIS but from their own pockets; if true, that makes the transfers technically legal. But the money certainly must have provided Mr. Kim with an aura that expedited his corrupt activities. We suspect that the fact that the two NIS directors gave money for no obvious reason must have encouraged Mr. Kim to meddle in various special deals. There is criticism that he must have used the directors' allowance as if it were an NIS licencse to put full-fledged pressure on the Financial Supervisory Commission and the prosecution.

Are such practices the norm in the Kim Dae-jung administration? The people are already enraged at the government's political cronyism and special favors. We strongly suspect that the money was given to Mr. Kim not simply for personal encouragement but to buy his influence within his father's administration. We cannot see any decency left in this adminstration.

Senior officials of the NIS have popped up in various political scandals since last year. They include Kim Eun-sung, a former head of domestic intelligence, and all these scandals started and grew when Lim Dong-won was the director of the NIS. The prosecution should also investigate whether the 45 million won given to the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation by the NIS, then led by Mr. Lim, was in fact an "allowance" for young Mr. Kim, because he was in charge of the foundation's day-to-day affairs.

The NIS seems humiliated by the disclosure of its obsequiousness to the president's son. Mr. Lim should explain in detail his relations with Kim Hong-up. He has evaded other explanations as well, saying he was too busy with inter-Korean matters.
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