Busan education chief suspected of bribery
By Kim Rahn
Busan’s top educator is suspected of accepting bribes from kindergarten chiefs in the form of luxury clothing.
Police said Wednesday they confirmed that Lim Hea-kyung, superintendent of the Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education, received three pieces of clothes worth 2 million won from two preschool heads in April last year.
Lim will be summoned for questioning soon.
“We are investigating whether she exercised influence for them in return for the clothes,” said an officer at the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency.
Lim allegedly went to a boutique in Gwangju with the two chiefs who bought her the clothes including a dress and a jacket.
Police launched the investigation in March following allegations that Lim had been lobbied by kindergarten operators. They raided the boutique and examined bank accounts of related figures, securing credit card receipts for the purchase.
As the investigation started, Lim returned the clothes to the preschool chiefs via a third person in May, about a year after the incident, according to police.
“We are checking in detail about what benefits Lim might have given the chiefs. We’ve identified some favoritism shown towards them over the education office’s projects for preschoolers,” the policeman said.
Police recently called in two employees from the office in charge of preschool education. They plan to summon Lim soon.
Lim is the third regional educational chief to be accused of corruption, following Seoul’s Kwak No-hyun and South Jeolla Province’s Chang Man-chae.
Kwak was given a one-year jail term at an appellate court in April on charges of bribing a rival candidate in the election to obtain the top educator post in 2010. He was arrested and suspended from duty last September, but returned to work in January after a lower court only fined him without sentencing him to a prison term.
Chang was arrested in April on charges of taking 40 million won in kickbacks from a company when he was president of Sunchon National University, and embezzling funds from the educational office.
But he was released on bail about a month later and then returned to work.