The irresistible taste of dark money
People used to say, “In this world, there is nothing that saba-saba cannot achieve, and nothing can be achieved without saba-saba.” The practice was so prevalent that the national police declared in July 1955 that it would eradicate the practice of saba-saba associated with crimes.
These days, no one uses the term saba-saba, but the custom is continued in the culture of bribery.
A few days ago, Cho Hyun-oh, the commissioner general of the National Police Agency, said that he has heard about some policemen serving in the Gangnam area taking bribes of tens of millions of won from massage parlors and other businesses.
He ordered an inspection of police stations in Gangnam, Seocho, Songpa and Suseo Districts, and in just 10 days, three police officers were caught and charged with alleged corruption. They had received entertainment and bribes worth several million won for turning cases around in the business’ favor. It was no joke that police officers competed to be assigned to the lucrative Gangnam posts.
Once you get a taste for dark money, it’s hard to live without it. German sociologist Georg Simmel (1858-1918) wrote about this in “The Philosophy of Money.” Through money, the unlimited variety of human personalities disappears and the soul gets lost.
Even police officers may be tempted to accept a bribe for the personal or professional benefits it brings. Nevertheless, it is still questionable how the countless businesses in Gangnam would dare to commit such illegalities as tax evasion and illegal operation.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Ko Dae-hoon