Early last September, tons of packages arrived at the first floor of the National Assembly Hall, all delivered in the name of Chuseok. However, next year’s Chuseok gift-giving practice will be almost impossible to see as the ‘Kim Young-ran Law’ was just went into effect starting September 28 of this year. It took 4 years to finalize wording and 1 month to become law, but the ‘Kim Young-ran Law’ prohibiting illegal solicitation and bribery among public officials, journalists, and private schools is now in effect. Under the new law, people working for the government, at media outlets, and in schools are barred from receiving meals exceeding 30,000 won, presents excessing 50,000 won, and money given as gifts of congratulations or condolences over 100,000 won. Violators face a maximum penalty of three years in prison or a fine of five times the cash equivalent of amount they received. According to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, an investigation will be carried out on 40,919 organizations. These include central government administrations and provincial state-run organizations as well as 21,201 local schools such as Sookmyung Women’s University. The law is expected to root out excessive gift giving practices and enhance transaction transparency. However, some people are concerned about initial confusion at the beginning of law enforcement and its cold water effect on market recovery. Actually, the rate of high-class restaurant reservation after September 28th in Gwanghwamun, Sejong-si, Yeouido, and Seocho-dong, where government buildings are located, decreased rapidly. Despite objections and concern, the massive overhaul to excessive gift-giving practices in Korea is welcomed and it is believed that it will make Korean society more transparent.
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