Park’s family tree boasts strong business and political ties

2012-12-19 23:45

Park prepares a memorial ceremony for her father, Park Chung-hee, on Nov. 14, 1979. He was assassinated on Oct. 26 that year.

(From left) Late former President Park Chung-hee, first lady Yook Young-soo (back)and children Ji-man, Geun-hye and Geun-ryeong look at a globe in the Blue House.

Park Ji-man, entrepreneur and younger brother of President-elect Park Geun-hye, and his wife Seo Hyang-hee, pose for a photo. (Korea Herald File Photo)

Owning to her status as the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, President-elect Park Geun-hye’s family tree boasts a number of influential figures in the business and political world.

Park’s younger brother, Park Ji-man, sits as the president of EG Corp., a chemical manufacturing company whose recorded sales last year topped 84.6 billion won ($78.8 million). Park, 54, studied at the elite Korean Military Academy, but was arrested several times for drug use in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.

His wife, Seo Hyang-hee, worked as the legal counsel to Samhwa Savings Bank, which was embroiled in a series of loan scandals last year. Seo has been accused of lobbying on behalf of the scandal-ridden bank, but Park has flatly denied such charges.

The president-elect is known to be particularly fond of Park Ji-man’s son. On a television program, Park stated that she practiced singing lullabies for her nephew.

Park is known to have difficult relations with her younger sister, Park Geun-ryeong, whose husband was found guilty in 2009 of spreading malicious rumors about the president-elect on the Internet and is currently serving time in prison. The younger Park serves as the head of Korea Relief Fund.

The president-elect also has a little-known half-sister, Park Jae-ok, who was born from their father’s first marriage with Kim Ho-nam. Park Jae-ok’s husband served as a lawmaker in the Democratic Republican Party of his father-in-law.

The president-elect also boasts two prime ministers as relatives.

Kim Jong-pil, who headed the Korean Central Intelligence Agency during former President Park’s regime and served as prime minister under former President Kim Dae-jung, and Han Seung-soo, who served as prime minister during President Lee Myung-bak’s administration, both count Park as their niece by marriage. 

By Samuel Songhoon Lee (
print close