[FOUNTAIN]Question backdoor accessSomething smells fishy about the concept of the backdoor. If the front gate is a symbol of justice and righteousness, the term backdoor is sometimes linked to secret cunning and deceit. When Emperor He of the Later Han Dynasty ascended to the throne at the age of 10, he was swayed by the consort clans of Empress Dowager Dou, the wife of Emperor He’s father, Emperor Zhang. Emperor He removed the Dou family with the help of the eunuch Zheng Zhong. The emperor could only enjoy power briefly, and Zheng Zhong took control of state affairs. The politics of the eunuch led the Later Han Dynasty to collapse. A Ming Dynasty history book described the situation as “keeping a tiger at bay at the front gate, only to be attacked by a wolf at the backdoor.” Today, the “tiger in the front, wolf in the back” refers to a person who pretends to be just and fair publicly but commits dirty deeds in the back.
As a computer term, “backdoor” means a passage a programmer secretly created without the user’s knowledge. No matter how tightly the user guards the front door of the system with multiple passwords, if you know the backdoor, you can enter the system at once.
In the stock market, a company that cannot go public by itself might use a method called “backdoor listing.” If successful, it could bring in a lot of money from soaring stock prices. In Korea, Daewoo Motor Sales was the first to do “backdoor listing” in 1996. Handok, a listed company with capital of 18 billion won ($19.8 million) at the time, merged with Woori Motor Sales, a Daewoo subsidiary that was several times the size of Handok. After the merger, the stock price jumped from 9,000 won ($9.40) per share to 16,000 won in 15 days.
A rush of backdoor listings began in 2000. Since the first backdoor listing on the Kosdaq in December of 2000, an increasing number of companies took advantage of the method. Last year, more than 100 companies went public via backdoor listings. While financial authorities have struggled for more than a year to control any abuse of the law, they have only made the situation more chaotic.
The “Sea Story” gambling news is creating a stir in Korea. Now, Roh Ji-won, a nephew of President Roh Moo-hyun, is mentioned for alleged involvement. Suspicions and allegations continue. The game business in question has gone public through backdoor listing, using the company that Mr. Roh had worked for. How about issuing a special pass to those who prefer using the backdoor? They can carry around an ID card reading, “Backdoor access confirmed by the authorities.”
by Yi Jung-jae
The writer is a deputy business news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.