The following is the fifth in a series of articles on the major tasks and key members of President-elect Park Geun-hye’s transition team. ― Ed.
The presidential transition team’s division of law and social safety is assigned the task of bringing law and order to society, setting up a better system to fight crime and corruption, enacting reforms in the prosecution, and adjusting the investigative powers between the police and prosecution.
President-elect Park Geun-hye promised sweeping reforms in the prosecution following a series of high-profile scandals and a public feud between the prosecutor general and the head of the Central Investigation Department, the most powerful organ of the prosecution which investigates politicians and chaebol owners.
The department has been criticized over the years for political back-pedaling and being an attack dog of existent powers. Park has pledged to dismantle the department and in its place establish a permanent special prosecutor’s office responsible for investigating corruption by high-ranking government officials and close confidants of the president.
Another festering problem in law enforcement has been the jockeying for power between the police and the prosecution. The police have been clamoring for more independence in its abilities to investigate and indict, which are currently solely overseen by the prosecution.
During her presidential campaign, Park labeled sexual harassment, school violence, domestic violence and unsafe food as the “four social crimes” facing society, and vowed to focus the law enforcement agencies’ effort against them. Devising ways to clamp down on such everyday crimes is another important task facing the committee.
The subcommittee on law and order is headed by Lee Hye-jin, a law professor at Dong-A University. The selection of Lee was a surprise for many political pundits ― and invariably herself ― as she was virtually unknown in the political arena. Lee reportedly found out she was picked to head the subcommittee when her acquaintances sent her text messages congratulating her on her selection.
A Busan native, Lee, 50, received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil law from Pusan National University. Lee is an expert in civil, family and gender law, particularly in improving and protecting women’s rights. A mother of three children, Lee is also expected to reign in heavily on school violence.
Another notable member of the subcommittee is Lee Seung-jong, a professor in public administration and public policy at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public Administration. Lee is popularly known among his peers as the “guru” of public administration. Lee, 60, is an advocate of the “Saemaul” (New Community Movement) that the President-elect’s father, late President Park Chung-hee, introduced in the 1960s and ‘70s to modernize the countryside.
Lee received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering at Seoul National University and the University of Delaware, respectively. Lee was the founding member of a scholarly organization dedicated to researching the late President Park’s “Saemaul Movement.”
Lee’s expertise in public administration is expected to lend a hand in realizing the president-elect’s campaign pledges.
By Samuel Songhoon Lee (email@example.com