President Park Geun-hye plans to declare an amnesty next year for poor people who have committed minor crimes.
In a meeting with her senior secretaries on Monday called for ways of easing the difficulties of ordinary people. She proposed that the amnesty should coincide with the Lunar New Year's holiday.
Park asked officials to make sure that the benefits of the amnesty "are felt by the public," focusing on crimes committed by people desperately seeking to make ends meet.
Previous presidential amnesties have tended to focus on rich people caught with their hand in the till, benefiting several chairmen of big family-owned conglomerates.