Disgraced Justice Minister to Return to Teaching Law at SNU

  • By Yoon Ju-heon

    October 16, 2019 13:39

    Disgraced short-term Justice Minister Cho Kuk will return to his job teaching law at Seoul National University after resigning on Monday.

    It took Cho, whose thick hide has stunned observers throughout the three-month scandal and mass protests, just about 20 minutes after President Moon Jae-in accepted his resignation on Monday evening to apply for his reinstatement at SNU.

    He got his old job back the next day, perhaps because he now has unparalleled knowledge of the law from both sides after prosecutors raided his home and his wife was indicted for document forgery.

    Under the school's policy, any professor on a leave of absence should report to the school within 30 days when the reason for his sabbatical ends, and the school should reinstate him without delay.

    A student passes by a poster calling for the dismissal of Prof. Cho Kuk on a bulletin board at Seoul National University in the capital on Wednesday. /Newsis

    Cho took leave in favor of an appointment to a public post, and SNU is now obligated to pay him from the day of his reinstatement. He will get about W4 million for the period from Oct. 15 to 31 on Thursday without doing any teaching or research (US$1=W1,186).

    On Tuesday, a poll on his return was posted on an online community site for SNU law students. Out of 2,133 respondents, 2,041 or 96 percent came out against Cho's return and only 63 or three percent wanted him back.

    A man walks past Chung Kyung-shim's office at Dongyang University in Yeongju, North Gyeongsang Province on Sept. 17. /Newsis

    Meanwhile, Cho's wife Chung Kyung-shim has miraculously come down with a brain tumor as questioning about her document forgery and attempts to destroy evidence intensified.

    Her lawyer said Tuesday that Chung was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and cerebral infarction and she is getting further test. She made the claim after a journalist said on a pro-government radio program that Cho's decision to resign, far from caving in to massive protests, seems to have been prompted by concerns about his wife's health.

    Chung has been questioned by prosecutors five times so far. Amid suspicions that her sudden additional health problems may be an excuse to avoid further investigation, prosecutors said they will not drop plans to apply for an arrest warrant unless she submits convincing medical evidence.

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