Rooting out the collusionThe incorrigible corruption that exists between the police and adult entertainment businesses dumbfounds us. An owner of hostess bars in the glitzy Gangnam District, known as the “emperor of the room salon world,” told prosecutors that a midlevel police officer surnamed Lee had received as much as 5 billion won ($4.5 million) from hostess bars across Seoul. Another policeman is under suspicion of taking bribes from massage parlors regularly. The corruption testifies to the shocking evolution of a dirty practice among the police from the level of making a little pocket money. It’s now become a money-making industry.
The prosecution is investigating if Lee has been receiving bribes as much as 10 million won a month from tens of hostess bars. Prosecutors have already discovered two expensive imported cars and more than 10 bankbooks in a search of his house. We are dismayed at the news that several policemen even have stakes in massage parlors and hostess bars.
Whenever evidence of collusive ties between the police and their dirty friends came up, the National Police Agency replaced policeman in the Gangnam area with fresh faces and pledged to root out the corruption. The latest scandal, however, has only confirmed that the police corruption has crossed a line. The prosecution must thoroughly investigate more than 30 former and current cops who were allegedly involved in the dirty practice to root out this rampant corruption. We urge the police to closely cooperate with the prosecution’s investigation of their wrongdoings since they themselves failed to correct the malpractices.
A thorough overhaul of the existing system of surveillance of hostess bars is also needed. The illegal dealings between police and these establishments occurs primarily because the policemen who keep tabs on the bars are restricted to a small number of cops working at the Department of Women and Juveniles. The police need to crack down on illegal businesses rampant at hostess bars together with district offices and tax offices so the principle of checks and balances can work.
At the same time, those agencies must conduct surveillance on hostess bars on a regular, not occasional, basis. Furthermore, the police should invite representatives of residents and parents when it devises or implements plans to crack down on illicit businesses in the adult entertainment industry. Without persistent efforts to conduct a transparent crackdown, corruption can take place anytime, anywhere.