Nationality laundering

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Nationality laundering

We are dumbfounded by the shocking news that many from the upper class are being summoned by the prosecution one after another for their suspicious involvement in sending their children to prestigious foreign schools. Most of them are sons and daughters of chaebol chairmen, lawyers and former lawmakers. They reportedly paid as much as 100 million won ($89,340) to education brokers in return for counterfeit passports or citizenship from Latin American or Caribbean nations in order to send their kids to foreign schools.

Prosecutors or the press may still call them “leaders of our society,” but we are wondering if they really deserve such respect and honor. A wife of a chaebol husband dared to engage in an illegitimate scam to enroll her kid at an esteemed foreign school by using a fake passport, despite the fact that her husband’s relative serves as a high-profile official in the government. A wife of an executive member of a big company even gave up her Korean nationality to send her child to another top foreign school and help her husband maintain his social status.

What they demonstrated is not befitting of their status. It shows an utterly low moral standard. What can we expect from the children of those who are immersed in basking in their privileges?

The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office said that 50 to 60 suspects will be summoned soon. A particular group’s blind preference for foreign schools for their kids has reached a worrisome level. Reasons for their deviant actions seem obvious. When their children enter local foreign schools, they can learn foreign languages without studying abroad, develop more personal connections at home and be easily admitted to esteemed colleges overseas. It’s so important to these people that they even risk their nationality. It is impossible to expect their children to grow into conscientious and respectable citizens in the future.

The prosecution must strictly deal with the case to establish social order by thoroughly investigating the charges, including the forgery of official documents. Detection of such despicable corruption among approximately 50 foreign schools in a small area, including Gangnam District, could be the tip of the iceberg.

The prosecution must roll up its sleeves to root out all kinds of shameful practices by extending its probe to other foreign schools as well. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and many municipal education offices should look into how well foreign schools are operated in other parts of the country.

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