Almost half of all Korean high school students feel it is fine to go to jail if they can earn W1 billion, according to a survey conducted by the Young Korean Academy (US$1=W1,061).
The academy polled 21,000 schoolchildren across the country and found that 47 percent in high school, 33 percent in middle school and 16 percent of elementary school kids felt crime is fine if it pays.
The numbers are a few percentage points up from a similar survey last year.
When asked about cheating on tests, more than 90 percent of all schoolkids surveyed said it is unethical, but 30 percent in elementary school, 69 percent in middle school and 78 percent in high school said copying someone else's homework is fine. And 53 percent saw no problem with downloading movies and music illegally on the Internet.
"Youngsters are in favor of honesty when it comes to activities that are either being monitored by others or carry direct consequences," a spokesman for the academy said. "But they saw no problem bending the rules when they would either not be found out or face minimal consequences."
He blamed a widespread belief in Korean society that the end justifies the means.
The overall index measuring honesty among adolescents stood at 74 points, namely 84 points for elementary, 72 for middle and 68 points for high school, clearly dwindling as youngsters get older.