Would-Be Education Chief Accused of Neglecting His Kids

A high-profile candidate for head of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education is embroiled in allegations that he neglected his children from a previous marriage.

Koh Seung-duk pauses during a press conference at his office in Seoul on Sunday. Koh Seung-duk pauses during a press conference at his office in Seoul on Sunday.

The charge against Koh Seung-duk comes directly from his daughter Candy (27) in a message on Facebook to "the Citizens of Seoul."

"Seoul's citizens deserve know the truth about the person they may be choosing to represent and be in charge of Seoul's education system." Her father "never partook in the education of his own children. Despite the existence of a telephone and Internet, Koh never called me or my brother to ask how we were doing."

She said she became angry after learning in the early 2000s that her father was giving lectures to parents in Korea on how to educate their children.

"I kept silence [then] because I didn't think my voice mattered," she wrote. "When his candidacy came to my attention recently, I could not, in good conscience, stay silent as his child. [His] running for the seat is crossing the line, For me to keep silent here would be to deceive the citizens of Seoul."

Koh Seung-duk married Park Yoo-ah, the daughter of POSCO founder Park Tae-joon, in 1984. They had two children, Candy and her younger brother, but divorced in 2002.

Candy Koh lives in the U.S. with her mother and brother, while Koh Seung-duk married again in Korea.

The letter quickly went viral, prompting Koh Seung-duk to issue a statement on Saturday night claiming he constantly felt sorry about the pain that the separation and divorce brought to his children.

He then held a press conference on Sunday and claimed his daughter's message is part of a plot by his rival in the election.

Candy Koh (left) and her mother Park Yoo-ah Candy Koh (left) and her mother Park Yoo-ah

Koh, a former lawyer and lawmaker, claimed his ex-wife's brother and the rival candidate, Moon Yong-rin, are using his daughter to discredit his image.

But Candy Koh denied this, saying it was her decision to post the letter, and Moon said he plans to file libel charges against Koh.

The allegations, which came just four days before Seoul residents go to the polls, has cast a cloud of uncertainty over who will become the city's top education official. In recent opinion polls Koh had a solid lead.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 02, 2014 11:22 KST