The Korea Herald


Nearly 1 in 3 lawmakers have criminal records: report

By Moon Ki Hoon

Published : July 25, 2023 - 16:45

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South Korean National Assembly, July 18 (Yonhap) South Korean National Assembly, July 18 (Yonhap)

Nearly a third of Korean legislators, or 94 out of 283 sitting lawmakers, have a criminal record, according to a report by a nongovernmental organization.

The Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice presented its findings in a press conference Tuesday, detailing the 94 lawmakers' 150 recorded offenses.

The report distinguishes between political and non-political crimes, with the former mainly associated with activism during military dictatorship. Excluding political offenses, the number of lawmakers with criminal records stands at 47, about 1 in 6.

These 47 individuals account for 67 recorded offenses, with 15 having multiple convictions. The highest number of crimes by a single person is four, according to the report.

Of these lawmakers, 46 are members of the two main parties, with 19 in the ruling People’s Power Party and 27 in the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea.

Driving under the influence was the most common crime, with 38 counts or 57% of total. White-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement were next, with 10 counts.

The report suggests that major parties are neglecting their ethical guidelines, the CCEJ explained. Both parties have previously proposed barring convicts from the primaries, but these plans have never been implemented. The CCEJ urged parties not to nominate such individuals in the future through primary law reforms.