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Korean court fines woman for violating anti-graft law

A local court on Thursday ordered a 55-year-old woman to pay 90,000 won ($77) for giving rice cakes to a police officer in the first ruling made after the implementation of a much-debated anti-graft law.

The Chuncheon District Court found the woman, whose identity was withheld, guilty of violating the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, which bans public servants, educators and journalists from receiving free meals valued at over 30,000 won, gifts worth more than 50,000 won, or congratulatory or condolence money of more than 100,000 won.

Under the law, public officials are prohibited from receiving any financial or other advantage in connection to their duties, regardless of whether such an offer is given in exchange for favors.

The woman is accused of delivering 45,000 won worth of rice cakes to the police officer on Sept. 28, the very first day the law took effect. The officer, whose identity was withheld, was in charge of a fraud case she filed with Chuncheon Police Station.

The officer returned the rice cakes to the woman on the same day and reported the case to the chief of the police station, according to court records.

The so-called Kim Young-ran Law, named after the former Supreme Court justice who proposed it, is considered a landmark framework for a country where nepotism and collusion between government officials and businesses has often been blamed for hampering fair competition and undermining the credibility of the government. (Yonhap)