September 20, 2019 11:41
New Justice Minister Cho Kuk faces increasing calls to step down over a raft of scandals that have dogged him since before his appointment.
Candlelight protests on Thursday spread to a wider number of social groups, with some 3,400 university professors and 2,900 doctors demanded that President Moon Jae-in rescind his decision to appoint Cho, while several universities in Seoul held their own protests calling for Cho's ouster.
Around 50 university professors held a press conference in front of Cheong Wa Dae to announce they gathered 3,396 signatures from former and incumbent academics at 290 universities across the country demanding Cho's resignation.
The university that drew the largest number of signatures with 179 was Cho's alma mater, Seoul National University, where he is nominally still a law professor.
At Yonsei and Kyungpook National universities, 105 academics signed the petition, at Korea University 99, at Kyunghee University 94, at Hanyang University 89, at Ewha Womans University 88, at Sungkyunkwan University 62 and at Pusan National University 61.
Some of the universities are linked to a nepotism scandal amid growing evidence that Cho and his wife wangled preferential admission and scholarships for their daughter there.
The group accused the president of "destroying social justice and ethics" by appointing Cho as justice minister, even though his wife was indicted on the day of Cho's confirmation hearing on charges of forging documents to facilitate their daughter's admission to graduate school.
Besides the nepotism scandal, Cho is also suspected of dodgy financial dealings in connection with a hedge fund owned by his family.
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