South Korea's business community welcomed special presidential pardons granted to convicted business leaders on Thursday, saying that it will join government efforts in boosting the domestic economy.
Some still expressed disappointment with what they see as the smaller-than-expected scale of the special pardons for business people, apparently citing the exclusion of a high-profile business leader from amnesty.
President Park Geun-hye granted special pardons to 14 businessmen and more than 6,500 others ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation Day.
The beneficiaries included SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won whose four-year jail sentence was upheld by the top court last year for embezzling company money for personal investments in 2008. Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon was excluded from the list.
"We welcome the president's brave decision to grant special pardons for businesspeople in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of liberation," the Federation of Korean Industries said in a statement.
"Our business community will understand this as an urge to take lead in reviving the economy and uniting the country and do our best for economic development," the largest business lobby added.
The Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry also expressed hope that the latest pardons would be the "starting point" for the national economic rebound and unity.
The Korea International Trade Association welcomed the government move, but expressed dissatisfaction with its "smaller-than-expected" scale.
"All the answers to such problems as growth, employment and welfare that confront the current Korean economy can be found at companies. It is also businesses that have to take the lead in creating jobs for the youth," it said.
"We had expected sweeping pardons on businesspeople for national unity and economic rebound but it is little disappointing that the scale was smaller-than-expected," it added.
SK Group, one of the beneficiaries from the latest pardon, said that as its chairman comes back, filling the years-old void in management, it will focus more on creating jobs and expanding investment and help the national economy get back on track.
Hanwha Group expressed disappointment with the exclusion of its chairman Kim from the list but vowed to keep working on "contributing to national economy" through investment and job creation.
In February, an appeals court gave Kim a three-year sentence for illegally using company money to pay back the debts of firms he ran under borrowed names. The sentence was suspended for five years, saving him from serving a jail term. (Yonhap)