Younghoon school president detainedThe Seoul Northern District Court on Tuesday issued a warrant to detain Kim Ha-ju, president of the Younghoon School Foundation, for charges of orchestrating fraud and receiving bribes from the parents of potential students to Younghoon International Middle School.
Kim is accused of falsifying admissions test scores or extending favorable admissions for bribes. The school teaches predominantly in English.
The troubled school’s management director surnamed Lim, who is already behind bars for receiving 90 million won ($78,660) in bribes, had testified that the money went into Kim’s pockets. Kim is also charged with embezzling school funds by up to 1.7 billion won. The arrest of Kim is more bad news for the foundation that was already shaken by the suicide of the school’s vice principal, who hanged himself on June 16 at the school amid the widening investigation.
Kim’s actual appearance at court Tuesday for preliminary hearings showed a common practice where defendants enter court in a wheelchair or hospital bed. The practice is viewed by many as an attempt to avoid harsh sentencing by feigning poor health.
Kim’s defense team requested that the elderly president be questioned by prosecutors without being detained due to his health and age, an argument often used for chaebol executives when they face imprisonment. The court rejected the defense’s request.
“I have nothing to say. I am sorry,” said Kim in front of a throng of reporters on his way to the detention center.
BY KANG JIN-KYU [firstname.lastname@example.org]