To act with honorIt is heartrending to see the head of a conglomerate being arrested on an assault charge. It is a shameful and unhappy incident for Kim Seung-youn, the chairman of the Hanwha Group, for the 20,000 employees at his chemical and construction conglomerate and for the entire nation.
What makes us sad about this case, regardless of whether the court decides that Kim is guilty or not, is that the entrepreneur is supposed to be working hard for his company, the nation’s ninth largest, instead of spending his time and energy trying to avoid a conviction. This is a national economic loss.
More pitiful is a growing public mistrust in the fairness of the legal system, which was triggered by this case and the way police deal with criminal acts by haves and have-nots.
In the early phase of the investigation police spent more than 20 days gathering evidence, drawing public criticism that police were doing favors for the business leader.
This kind of public criticism, however reasonable it sounds, should not overturn the principle of trial without detention.
But this case has a gravity unlike other similar cases because one of the nation’s leaders is involved. It’s also alleged that he took personal revenge rather trying to find a solution within the law. It is a very important case because his alleged acts undermined the fundamental rule of law. Public figures must take full responsibility for their actions.
It is welcome, in this sense, that a revised version of the criminal procedures code, which will come into effect next year, adds the “gravity of a case’’ to the list of causes for detention.
Kim has to confess his exact role in the case, accepting the fact that society will punish him for his wrongdoings.
It would be unmanly of Kim, who is known as a “manly’’ leader, to deny every charge but then reluctantly admit the truth when confronted with the evidence.
It is a simple incident. Any father can make such a mistake. Kim should put a quick end to the case by confessing his wrongdoings, pay for them according to the law and get back to business. That would be good for Kim, his company and the economy. That is the right course for a man of honor.
If Kim tries to cover up, the case will be protracted, which will only work against the company’s public image. That would be the Hanwha chairman’s worst nightmare.
Kim should know that if he acknowledges his role in the case and shows repentance, the public will support his efforts to make a comeback.