South Korean envoy to Vietnam faces hearing on power abuse allegations

By Viet Anh   April 29, 2019 | 04:44 am PT
South Korean envoy to Vietnam faces hearing on power abuse allegations
South Korean ambassador to Vietnam Kim Do-hyun. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Anh
South Korean ambassador Kim Do-hyon's fate hinges on a hearing next month on allegations of abusing power and violating anti-corruption laws. 

While South Korean businesses and residents in Vietnam seem to support Kim and have expressed concern about his possible recall, media reports say he could be replaced if found guilty.

Kim, 53, is accused of treating embassy officials in an "arrogant and authoritarian manner," a practice called "gapjil" in Korean.

He is also accused of violating the Kim Young-ran Act, known as the anti-corruption law in South Korea, for allegedly receiving gifts from multiple agencies, including airline tickets, expensive phones and golf training nets in 2018. 

However, he has denied the allegations, according to a report from Korean newspaper Asia Business Daily published last Wednesday

It has also reported that South Korea’s Ministry of Personnel Management (MPM) will make a decision on whether or not to punish Kim after a hearing held by the ministry in May.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may recall him to Seoul to attend the hearing and replace him with a new ambassador to Vietnam if found guilty, the paper said.

The Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam has issued a statement, expressing members’ concerns over the issue.

"The recall of Kim at the time he is working for the future of South Korean businesses and community in Vietnam would be unreasonable."

The statement said that while some people may disagree with Kim’s efforts, the majority of the South Korean community, including busineses feel that his steps were in the right direction.

Kim started working in the Korean foreign ministry in 1993, when he was 37. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Seoul National University and a master's degree in history from the University of Cambridge, England.

He worked for five years with Samsung Electronics, in charge of smartphone sales in Europe. From 1994 to 1997, he taught at the Korean Naval Academy. In 2005 - 2007, he was the first secretary of the Korean Embassy in Russia, and later, the ambassador of South Korea in Ukraine from 2007 to 2010.

He was appointed South Korean ambassador to Vietnam in April last year.

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