Prime Minister nominee Chung Hong-won admitted Thursday that he had falsely registered his address, but claimed it was only to maintain his place on a housing list.
False resident registration is a criminal offense in Korea, punishable by up to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to 10 million won ($9,400), although the law has not been strictly enforced.
The former prosecutor Chung is accused of having a fake address in Doksandong in Seoul in after moving to Busan in 1988 while working at Busan District Prosecutor’s office.
He noted that the fake address in Seoul was his sister’s home and he made the false resident registration in order to keep his savings deposits put down to apply for a house. Through the system, applicants who deposited a certain amount of money in a special savings accounts were eligible to apply for a newly-built apartment.
The house application deposit for first-time buyers at the time did not allow applicants to keep “first priority” if they moved out of the city, though the rule changed in 1989.
“(The false residential address) was not to invest in real estate, nor to evade income tax, but to have a first home,” he was quoted as saying by the Prime Minister’s office.
President-elect Park Geun-hye last Friday nominated the prosecutor-turned-lawyer Chung to be the first prime minister of her incoming administration. His parliamentary confirmation hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20-21.
Chung is also likely to be questioned over his son’s exemption from mandatory military service during the confirmation hearing.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com