Chun Doo-hwan's eldest son Jae-kook announced Tuesday that the disgraced former President's family would repay the remaining W167.2 billion of a W220.5 billion fine imposed by the Supreme Court in 1997 for corruption in office (US$1=W1,085). On the list of assets Jae-kook has pledged to hand over as part-payment are real estate holdings of the ex-president's three sons and daughter, including possibly Chun's palatial home in northern Seoul, as well as expensive works of art.
The 16-year staring match between Chun and the authorities is finally drawing to an end. Chun's equally-disgraced successor Roh Tae-woo already paid the remaining W23 billion of his fine on Sep. 4. The public can at long last feel that justice has prevailed.
Chun has only paid W53.3 billion, less than a quarter of his fine, either himself or through the sales of his confiscated assets. In April 2003 he told a court he had only W290,000 to his name even though he was seen golfing around the country with former aides. It was a shame that authorities were unable to take back what rightfully belongs to the public and even more disgraceful that an ex-president to refused to follow the orders of a court. And so the saga dragged on.
Now there is a real chance that the fine will be paid. Koreans will be breathing an enormous sigh of relief when the whole sordid affair is finally put to rest.