The Korea Herald


Jeju's youngest provincial councilor expelled from party over alleged sex trade

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : July 13, 2023 - 16:53

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Kang Gyeong-hm (Jeju Provincial Council) Kang Gyeong-hm (Jeju Provincial Council)

A 29-year-old councilor of the southern island province of Jeju has been expelled from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, amid allegations that he bought sex.

Kang Gyeong-hm, who began his four-year term as councilor last year, is being investigated by the police for allegedly buying sex services at a Jeju bar.

The police, while probing the bar’s sex trafficking of four foreign women, have unearthed records of money transactions between the councilor and the establishment.

A Jeju chapter of the Democratic Party decided on his ouster after a party ethics committee meeting. Expulsion is the heaviest punishment the committee can impose on a party member accused of ethical breaches.

Although the allegations are yet to be confirmed through a court trial, they are “grave and seriously undermine the dignity of an elected civil servant," the party committee explained after announcing the measure.

Kang can appeal the decision within seven days. If the party ethics committee decides against a second review, he will be ousted immediately.

The liberal councilor denies buying sex, claiming that he only drank at the bar.

This was the second time Kang faced scrutiny for misconduct.

In February, he was fined 8 million won ($6,300) for driving under the influence of alcohol. The Democratic Party at the time suspended him for 10 months.

Elected in the local elections last year in June, Kang was the youngest to have entered the Jeju provincial legislature.

He will continue to serve as councilor as an independent.

The council’s ethics panel, which slapped Kang with a 30-day suspension for the DUI case, has not convened, as the police investigation is still ongoing.