|Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission Chairman Lee Sung-bo (fourth from right) and other participants salute the flag at the first civil rights day ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea )Herald|
The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on Wednesday declared Feb. 27 the national civil rights day, and awarded medals and commendations to individuals for contributing to anti-corruption and civil rights issues.
Feb. 27 is the date on which King Taejong of the Joseon era ordered the Sinmungo to be installed. The Sinmungo was a drum set up outside the king’s palace that could be sounded to bring the authorities’ attention to complaints about state affairs or personal grievances.
At the ceremony, 13 organizations and 101 individuals were awarded government commendations and medals for their efforts.
“We are moving toward becoming a country where the people are happy and public officials are clean, aided by the award winners who worked behind the scenes,” ACRC Chairman Lee Sung-bo said. He went on to say that the ACRC would continue to serve its roles of protecting civil rights and strengthening its anti-corruption functions to improve the level of trust the public places in the government.
“Since being established five years ago, the ACRC has been consolidating its position as an organization protecting the public’s civil rights by creating a synergy effect, by linking up functions and through cooperation.”
This year’s award winners include Han Yang-soo of Jeongup, North Jeolla Province, and police inspector Park Hyun.
Han, the chief of city planning at Jeongup City Hall, was awarded the Order of Service Merit for resolving friction between local residents and the Korea Rail Network Authority. Last year, 73,000 Jeongup residents filed a complaint to the ACRC following the Korea Rail Network Authority’s decision to review plans to build a new express train station and an underground footpath. According to the ACRC, the situation deteriorated to the point that some citizens occupied rail facilities. The six-month delay in the work resulted in large deficits.
Park, who received a prime ministerial commendation, was selected for his investigation into a fraud case.
Park’s investigation led to the arrest of 28 people who operated a scam to receive government subsidies for shipping firms that are designated to operate during emergencies.
Recipients also include a man who reported seeing suspicious activities to the ACRC. The informer, whose identity was not revealed, reported seeing a man packing large amounts of cash into a box in the parking lot of a financial institution in August 2011.
The investigation that followed the report revealed illegal activities in supply contracts for nuclear power stations. The investigation resulted in more than 53 individuals including Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. officials being penalized.
Kim Won-jin, an investigator of the Ulsan District Prosecutors’ Office, also received a prime minister’s commendation for his part in the investigation.
Other recipients included Choi Ki-ho, a reporter with the broadcaster SBS, who exposed a high-level prosecutor taking bribes. The report led to the responsible prosecutor being indicted and the resignation of the prosecutor general.
The report is also considered to have contributed to the call to reform the public prosecutors’ office, which was one of the key issues during last year’s presidential election.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org