The teenage son of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong gained a place reserved for children of single parents this year at the prestigious Younghoon International Middle School in Seoul.
The admission of the boy, who is the grandson of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, has stirred up controversy because the slot is designed to help underprivileged students. Lee divorced his wife in 2008, so the boy is strictly speaking the child of a single parent, but he also comes from the richest family in Korea.
Classes at the school are taught entirely in English and tuition costs W10 million (US$1=W1,062) a year including after-school activities. The government requires the school allocate 20 percent of places to underprivileged children and is unlikely to have had the Samsung family in mind.
Seoul education officials and the school said no rules were broken. A Samsung Group spokesman claimed the fact that the boy is being raised by a single parent makes him an underprivileged member of society who needs special attention. Critics greeted the claim with derision and said the place should have gone to someone who really needs it.