[EDITORIALS]Sea Story apology insincereChung Dong-chae, a member of the Uri Party, apologized on Tuesday for the scandal over Sea Story, a gambling arcade game business. He was the minister of culture when the gambling game rooms spread rapidly across the nation. However, his apology does not sound sincere. He said that as a former minister who was in charge of the matter at that time, he apologized for the unrest. All he did was read a five-page document. He said the question of how gambling games spread across the nation would be revealed through an audit and investigation by the prosecution.
People don’t want to hear an insincere apology. As the minister who used to supervise the matter, he should unveil the whole procedure and how we wound up in this situation. People won’t be fooled by his pretense. When Mr. Chung was a minister, from July 2004 to March 2006, the Korea Media Rating Board gave Sea Story its approval. The ministry introduced a system to select which companies could issue gift vouchers. But after the system led to trouble and complaints, the ministry introduced another system but one that was no more transparent. The second system helped gambling games spread across the nation even more quickly.
Mr. Chung knows more about the whole procedure than anyone else. He should explain why he made the decisions he did and what he did about the matter, in order to calm the storm of public anger.
When Mr. Chung was in office, controversy arose over the qualifications for companies that issue gift vouchers, and some companies were found to have reported false data. The National Assembly asked the ministry to reveal the truth, but nothing happened. Mr. Chung says he asked the prosecution and the police to rein in the gambling business, but many people see this claim as suspicious. President Roh Moo-hyun said, “Not a single dog barked over this issue at that time.” The suspicion that Mr. Chung suppressed news about the situation and did nothing should be cleared.
Mr. Chung has maintained that he is not responsible for this. If so, then who is responsible for having pursued and granted all the measures regarding the gambling game business? What his explanations mean is that even a minister had to buckle under strong pressure. This is the same thing as admitting that the Sea Story scandal was a result of political corruption. Suspicions and accusations surrounding the Sea Story affair should be cleared. Lies will be revealed ― it is only a matter of time.