President Park Geun-hye expressed regret Monday in the wake of criticism that her office dealt too leniently with corruption involving its own staff by just sending those officials to their original ministries and agencies without additional punishment.
Last week, a local newspaper carried a series of critical reports about 10 presidential staff members getting off the hook without any punishment after they committed corruption and other irregularities and that most of them are faring well in their original agencies.
Following the reports, the top office ordered that they be given additional punishment.
"In order to firm up social discipline, social leaders and high-level officials should lead by example," Park said during a meeting with senior secretaries. "In this sense, it is very regrettable that the presidential office failed to lead by example in the course of dealing with the wrongdoing involving presidential staff."
The highest office had previously claimed that removing problematic officials from the presidential staff and sending them back to their original agencies was punishment in itself and that no additional disciplinary measures were necessary.
But the newspaper reports touched off criticism that the top office went easy on its own staff despite Park's repeated calls for ending corruption and other long-standing abnormal practices rampant in South Korean society. (Yonhap)