fucked either way, right?
August 10, 2003 11:15 PM   Subscribe

Top hyundai Executive Plunges to his Death 4 days ago, amidst an ongoing investigation into a 100 million dollar underground transfer between Chung Mong-hun and the government of North Korea. But then again, its not like the sky wasn't already falling on him.
posted by Keyser Soze (8 comments total)
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posted by Keyser Soze at 11:16 PM on August 10, 2003

A little more than four days ago, but that's no big deal. This is a case that has immense political ramifications because of the enmity between North and South. Stavrosthewonderchicken is in Korea - maybe he could fill us in on the Korean reaction to all this...? Paging Stavros, paging stavros!
posted by humuhumu at 12:18 AM on August 11, 2003

good call
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:24 AM on August 11, 2003

Er, hi.

I haven't really been following the reaction Korean reaction to this. My personal feeling is that I'm pleased that another of the privileged, old-school, latter-day yangban who run the chaebol, another of the self-styled corporate emperors who have this country in a stranglehold, has met his demise, which means there's a tiny glimmer of hope for the future that wasn't there before, perhaps.

Odd though that he'd commit suicide. There's no real personal-honour tradition here, Japanese-style, at least not in many decades. More likely for a perp just to look contrite and live off ill-gotten gains squirreled away somewhere secretly, a la Noh Tae Woo and Chun Doo Hwan, the ex-presidential scum who thanks to their cronies were pardoned from the show-trial death sentences they received for their crimes before this place democratized. Or sort of democratized. Appearances being more significant than reality, always.

Apologies for the syntax. The first version of this post got eaten, and I can't be bothered. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:57 AM on August 11, 2003

It's like a Kurosawa film come to life. The Bad Sleep Well. Except that it's Korea and your right theres no tradition of it there.
posted by stbalbach at 8:24 AM on August 11, 2003

I'm pleased that another of the privileged, old-school, latter-day yangban who run the chaebol, another of the self-styled corporate emperors who have this country in a stranglehold, has met his demise

You're pleased about a demise that involves jumping off a building? I too would celebrate the chaebol paying a price for all the corruption and bad business practices. But dancing on graves, and all that.

I'm not local, but based on Korean news reports and word from family back home in Seoul, most people are shocked. Like many suicides, he gave no indication whatsoever in public or private, as far as we're told. It was so sudden that there is talk of something happening between his arrival at the building and his jumping. There is a rumor of a phone call from a family member or a politico, giving him some terrible news.

Although he is in the center of the 100mil transfer scandal, I think most people feel he was under heavy pressure from ex-prez Kim Dae-Jung to make the payment. Doesn't absolve him. Just more context.

Chung Mong-Hun was not a filthy rich man. Not saying he wasn't head of some major corp's in Korea. But as the articles described, he was not head honcho of Hyundai by any means. The most profitable businesses had been taken away by his older brothers, and the ones he kept were in big trouble financially. Post-death, official inquiries found that his personal wealth was relatively small. (I'm sure the family has much squirrelled away, though.)

For what it's worth: CMH was voted by university students (the same reform-minded kids who supposedly used text-messaging to elect the new prez) as one of the top executives "for the future" in a survey about leading bizmen, someone with the potential to change the way things are run. I'm not sure when the poll was taken, and whether the 100mil scandal was before or after. But I'm also guessing the students are still a bit left-leaning, and they may blame DJ the ex-prez more than CMH for the payments.
posted by shortfuse at 8:45 AM on August 11, 2003

This was on fark a while ago, where someone linked to this interesting commentary on the suicide:

posted by bobo123 at 11:51 AM on August 11, 2003

Thanks bobo123 - that was a great read. I shall bookmark that blog for the future.
posted by humuhumu at 2:18 PM on August 12, 2003

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