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[UPDATE: Parole Granted] Activist Groups Is South Korea Oppose The Parole Release Of Samsung Leader

Lee Jae yong SCMP image 1
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UPDATE: Lee Jae-yong, Samsung leader, has been granted parole. He will soon be released from jail, reports Korea Herald.  That will happen at 10AM on Friday (local time), August 13. It is worth noting that Lee Jae-yong is fighting two more criminal cases, so things could change in the future.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: While hopes for the parole release of Samsung leader were strong, some activists groups in South Korea have recently announced their opposition to the release of Lee Jae-yong on parole. According to SamMobile, 1,056 activist groups and labor unions in South Korea released a joint statement on Tuesday that insisted they are against any order leading to Samsung leader’s parole release.

Opponents have said that the President Moon Jae-in must remain committed to the goals of the 2017 change. Also, any orders to pardon Samsung leader “would be an act denying the existence of the Moon Jae-in government.”

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The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) movement was responsible for holding the press conference. As per PSPD leader, “the parole of a chaebol leader who has committed a grave economic crime violates the value of fairness.” For a side note, chaebol is a family-run business in South Korea.

Jae-yong on, one of Samsung’s top executives and the company’s heir, arrested in 2017 for bribing the South Korean president. Following the revelation, President Park Geun-hye was ousted and imprisoned. Efforts to free the Samsung leader began from the earliest days. In 2018, a South Korean court reduced Lee’s sentence from five to 2.5 years. However, the same court later issued a new sentence against Lee and sent him back to prison.

The president of South Korea is in a dilemma for parole release of Samsung leader

Recently, some sources in South Korea announced that the Samsung leader might be pardoned on August 15. The government intends to release Lee as part of the program to support businesses and the private sector in the post-pandemic.

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Dates back to June, Reuters reported that some senior executives of Korean corporations have asked the president to pardon Lee Jae-yong. Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and SK are among the companies that asked for it.

Lee has now served about 60-percent of his sentence and is eligible for pardon. However, opposition from civil rights groups may put the president in a dilemma for pardon. The justice ministry will hold a meeting next week to discuss the case.

Samsung plays a crucial role in South Korea’s economy, and the country owes part of its GDP to the company. In the post-pandemic, Samsung’s position may be in jeopardy due to the lack of unified leadership. Specifically, Chinese companies are the biggest threat to the future of Samsung’s market share.

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The chip shortage and its importance in South Korea is another reason that may lead to the parole release of Lee Jae-yong.