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The Structure, Mechanism, and Trends of Corruption in Korea (Ⅱ)
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December 01, 2016


Main contents of this study of the 2nd-year task of “the Development Structure and Change of Trend in the Corruption of Korean Society” designed as annual project of 3-year-plan(2015-2017) could be understanding about actual condition of the occurrence structure corruption crimes and control mechanism in Korean society. In this study, many-sided understanding on the phenomenon of corruption is sought from the beginning of looking over as a large scale moving to the more microscopic viewpoint relatively on the corruption in Korean society. In the first half of this study, to answer the question of “Why the corruption problem of Korean society has been tied up in the current level without any noteworthy improvement?”, country is regarded as a unit of analysis, the explanation as a independent variable cause that the reason of the corruption level difference of many countries results from ‘the different democracy level of each country’ is sought. I set up social democracy, adversarial democracy(winner-take-all effect democracy) as the ideal type for explanation factor that the corruption level difference of democratic states and I considered various intermediate types of former two. Social democracy is a political type that people's votes are reflected sufficiently, but adversarial democracy(winner-take-all effect democracy) is a political type that the winner take all the national powers even though he became the winner as a narrow majority. The proportional representative system (Verhaltniswahlsystem) in assembly election predominates is in social democracy countries, but the single-member electorate system in assembly election is predominant in adversarial democracy(winner-take-all effect democracy) countries. The proportional representative system (Verhaltniswahlsystem) has a relative conformity between the polling rate of political party and the number of seat of the political party, but the single-member electorate system has big gap between the polling rate of political party and the number of seat of the political party. When we compare with the score and ranking of corruption perceptions index the countries between the small gap countries and the big gap countries between the polling rate of political party and the number of seat of the political party out of main OECD countries, the score and rank of the former countries are highly placed but that of the latter countries are placed low. When we evaluate the correlation between the disproportion score and the corruption perceptions index score out of main OECD countries, we can realize the highly inverse correlation. Thus, in the democratic countries of same political system, the democratic country that people's will is reflected very well could be distinguished from the democratic country that people's will is not reflected so well, such a meaningful difference can bring a big influence in the corruption level of a society or a country. Korea belongs to the countries that have the biggest gap between the polling rate of political party and the number of seat of the political party out of main OECD countries. Thus I could make a conclusion that the macro level cause that Korea has kept current corruption level is due to no having full establishment the level of democratic system that the people of Korea can afford to control government power effectively even though Korea escaped from absolute corruption level successfully owing to outcome of establishment democracy for last several decades. More concrete analyses follows macro level analysis of the first half of this study, I can say they are divided broadly into two groups, they are the analysis of corruption cases in public area and the analysis of corruption cases in civil area. Also the analysis of corruption cases in public area is divided broadly into three groups such as political and legislative area, judicial area, administrative area. At first, in the analysis of political and legislative area, the important cause that governments in history have kept the corruption of each president's relatives could be the excessive powers of each president. Namely the president has the power to appoint and dismiss Public Prosecutor General, Director of the National Tax Service, National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director, and the power to appoint Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the core organization of government power, and president also has the power to appoint and dismiss 1,500 public offices directly and 20,000 public offices indirectly. Therefore we can say every president has seized government power through imperial presidential monarch that the checking function of the national assembly has been weakened, such situation has been the causes of corruptions and requests abusing government power. Also the result of the unique nature that only 0.01% slight difference winner may seize all the government powers stimulates pursuers of government powers so that they come to power and keep the power in any way whether it is legal or not like election malpractice, illegal political funds. The fundamental cause of continuous corruption in government power is just the structure problem of government power, even though the public official election act, the political fund act, and some other acts were legislated in order to prevent election malpractice, illegal political funds. By the way, the legislative branch as a main subject that could check the abuse of government power of president and his staffs is constituted by the doctrine of adversarial democracy (winner-take-all effect democracy) that reflects people's political opinions not very well, this situation has brought the legislative branch's failure of control against the presidential power and his administration and both legislative branch and administration has been colleagues together in corruption. Even if the independence of the judicial branch has been guaranteed and functioned such as United States of America, United Kingdom although the countries that adopt adversarial democracy (winner-take-all effect democracy), the much room of prevention and control of corruption could be left. But, in Korea, we can say the independence of the judicial branch may be very weak. In our Korea, the judicial branch has played a role of slave to presidential power for long time. Needless to say, the police service and the prosecutor service specially belonging to quasi judicial branch have played a role of slave to presidential power and it is true that the courts belonging to the authentic judicial branch has made unfair decisions to the taste of supreme power of presidential power, distorting the truth sometimes. Although the situation of corruption control has got better after democratization in Korea, but judicial organizations have still played a role of tool for covering up and defending as judicial organizations have become mates with presidential and government power, in judicial branch area. Also, as we have experienced through many corruption cases in the legal circles, judicial branch area has not played roles of watching and control against presidential and government power, but it has fell the hotbed of corruption and irregularity and it has not escaped from the mire. The development of this situation has kept until the present day in 2016. In this study, the phenomenon of corruption in Korea divided broadly into three groups such as the problem of the privileges of judicial officers’ former post, the problem of the brokers in judicial area, and the problem of sponsor type corruption and irregularity in judicial area, it is especially noticeable that the problem of the brokers in judicial area has got serious and serious out of these three groups. The fundamental cause of social background the problem of the brokers in judicial area that has got worse and worse, could be the excess in the increase speed of the number of judicial officers(lawyers, prosecutors, judges) to the number of acceptance lawsuit cases, many lawyers have depended on the freelance brokers in judicial area in order to accept lawsuit cases. In the analysis of corruption cases of administrative area, I looked over the mafia groups of administrative officers' society, the confirmation hearing cases of high-ranking officials and then, I analyzed the structure of corruption occurrence based on the result of evaluation integrity index of public organizations that the national interest committee performed. It is really serious problems that the phenomenon of the mafia groups of administrative officers' society showed in the case of Sewol Passenger Boat, the case of corruption and irregularity of nuclear power plants, and the other similar cases, has potential possibility to produce the professional and organizational corruptions by private and public joint. The organization system of the mafia groups of administrative officers' society has a similar network with the privileges of judicial officers’ former post and the privileges of each member in the mafia groups of administrative officers' society is also similar structure with he privileges of judicial officers’ former post. The phenomenon of the mafia groups of administrative officers' society has a potential possibility to increase the corruption and irregularity cases, for example, the absolute number of the administrative officer who wants reemployment in the similar industry after his retirement has got more and more while the average life span of administrative officers has got longer and longer. Therefore I want to say researchers need to have attention in hereafter researches and policy of reactions. By the way, in the analysis of confirmation hearing process of high-ranking officials in administrative branch, we need to consider the mechanism of self-excuse and self-justification of interviewee of confirmation hearing such as denial of damage, denial of victim, denial of responsibility, condemnation to condemner, opening the kimono, counter-argument of the maldistribution. These reactions could be committed by anyone just as the Techniques of Neutralization Theory or the justification mechanism theory in the area of criminology and some more study could be necessary the justification mechanism of corruption actions that it is alright for the reason without any damage to other people. The last part of corruption cases in the area of administrative branch in this study, is the result of analysis on the occurrence structure based on evaluation integrity index of public organizations. If the credibility of evaluation on integrity index is premised, the summary of keynotes on the result of the analysis is that the level of integrity index of the local administrative organizations is lower than that of the central administrative organizations and the level of integrity index of the investigation organizations and regulation organizations such as prosecution service, police service and other services, is lower relatively. In case of former, the main cause factor could be the transformation to the local governments in somewhat noticeable rights and interests, discretionary power, and in case of the latter, the main cause factor could be that judicial law enforcement organizations have many sensitive civil complaints especially. In the part of the analysis of corruption cases in civil area, two concepts could be defined, the one is civil corruption between civilian and civilian as more narrow meaning and the other is civil corruption in a fuller sense of corruption. In the analysis of actual corruption cases, most of them concord with the analysis of company corruptions. In this study, the degree of current corruption actions in company area has changed higher and higher than in the past, in the past when had not been accomplished accumulation of capital for enterprise activity, companies had been dependant on political powers, in the present when had been accomplished accumulation of capital somewhat for enterprise activity, political powers depend on companies that support political funds to them. In the second half of this study, the contents on the matter of effectiveness and influence evaluation of the control mechanism of corruption crimes in Korean society are subscribed. Namely the analysis and review on the change of counteractions and the problems of such counteractions against corruption crimes in Korean society, from the beginning of the historical limits of counteractions against corruption and the outcomes of counteractions against corruption, reflections etc. in the last several standards is considered such as the policies of anti-corruption. Corruption problems and corruption crimes are some kinds of universal phenomenon around the world and it is current trends that they have evolved day after day. Nevertheless, several countries over the world have showed successful outcomes in policies and experiences of anti-corruption and such successful policies and experiences of anti-corruption have been made a return for a rise in national income, high quality welfare services, high degree of satisfaction in every citizen's daily life. It is true that we have somewhat difficulties to declare what level of successful performance and outcomes in Korea's counteractions against corruption and anti-corruption policies, but Korea could achieve the desired results if Korean government and people take attentions consistently, and consult experiences, and the wisdoms of successful countries in anti-corruption policies, and enforce the maturity of democracy, and take deep interests and make greater efforts for establishment of the society of trust. Our researchers will agonize what we can do concretely for above such outcomes based on research project outcomes of this year in the study of the 3rd-year task, next year. I expect this study project could give a small contribution to such achievement.

Jitae Hwang

Crime Trends&Analysis

Senior Research Fellow

Jitae Hwang's picture

Research Interest (Major)

Criminal Statistics, Criminal Sociology

Report List

Current State and Countermeasures According to Different Types of Forgery in Korea

Measures to Strengthen the Efficacy of Criminal Policy for Public Safety (V)

Types and Countermeasures of the Investment Fraud

Crime Victims and their Needs for Support

Circumstances and Countermeasures of Unlawful Practices of Law (Ⅱ) - Focusing on the Reality of Corruption Committed by 'Attorney-At-Law Retired From Public Office' and Its Countermeasures

Improving the Prevention System of Corruption in the Private Sector

Unlawful Practice of Law in Korea (Ⅰ): Status and Countermeasures of Unlawful Practice of Law Broker

Analysis on the Structure and Mechanism of Corruption in Korea and Its Transforming Trend Pattern

The Structure, Mechanism, and Trends of Corruption in Korea (Ⅱ)

Factors of Changea in Juvenile Inmates’ Behavior at Juvenile Reformatories

Operation Condition and Improvement Plan of Court-Apppinted Assistant System for Minors

The Recent Anti-Corruption Law Issues: Jurisprudential Considerations and Public Opinion Survey on the Anti-Corruption Bill

Korean Crime Victim Survey in 2014

Korean National Crime Victim Survey (Ⅳ) -2014 Survey on Living Conditions of and Social Support for Crime Victims-

Korean Crime Victim Survey 2012

Kyoungchan Kim

Transnational Organized Crime, Criminal Law&Policy

Research Fellow

Kyoungchan Kim's picture

Research Interest (Major)

Criminal Law & Criminal Procedure, Chinese Law, Swedish Law

Education/Professional Experience

2011 Korea University, Ph.D.

2005 Korea University, Master of Laws

1997 Korea University, Bachelor of Laws

2018 Visiting Scholar, The Scandinavian Institute for Policy Studies, Sweden

2017 Guest Researcher, The Research Center on International Cooperation Reagarding Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery in G20 Member State, China.

2011 Research Professor, Institute of Legal Studies, Kangwon University. Korea

2009 Advanced Training in Law School of Ji-Lin University. China

2008 Lecturer, Law school of Korea University. Korea

2005 Lecturer, Law school of Catholic University of Korea. Korea

Report List

China's Judicial Reform and its Implications

Comparative Study on Korea and China's Judicial Policy Response to Crimes of Counterfeit Medicines

North Korean Criminal Law

China's Secret Trade Infringement Cases and Countermeasures

Comparative Study on Criminal Justice Policy in Korean and China: Anti-Corruption Policy

The Structure, Mechanism, and Trends of Corruption in Korea (Ⅱ)

Examining Involuntary Deportation Policies of Foreign Countries: China, Philippines, and Indonesia

Comprehensive Evaluation of Human Rights Protection Competency of Criminal Justice Agencies (Ⅰ): Focused on the Prosecution and the Police's Human Rights Protection Compentency

Establishing the Human Rights-oriented Criminal Justice System: Focused on the Reinforcement of Procedural Guarantees for Foreigners

Comprehensive Policy for Developing Scientific Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science(Ⅱ)

Annual Report on UN Activities & International Cooperation 2013

Aggressive Driving and Road Rage in Korea

Trend and Countermeasures of Drug-Related Crimes and Voice Phisings among Koreans in Northeast China

Sunjoong Lee

Sunjoong Lee's picture

Report List

Hyojin Song

Hyojin Song's picture

Report List

Jinhee Jang

Jinhee Jang's picture

Report List

Wooduck Kwon

Wooduck Kwon's picture

Report List

Korean Institute of Criminology Official Video - image

Korean Institute of Criminology Official Video

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