South Korean Authorities Arrest Cosmetics CEO for Illegal Gambling
Jeong Un-ho, the CEO of South Korean cosmetics firm Nature Republic, has been arrested for illegal overseas gambling. Jeong Un-ho (pictured) was arrested on Tuesday for gambling in illegal poolrooms in Macau and the Philippines, according to Yonhap News.
The cosmetics executive is alleged to have gambled in illegal overseas gaming operations between 2012 and 2015. Many readers might be astounded that person could be arrested for vice crimes they committed in foreign countries, but South Korean officials have never been shy about punishing illegal gaming, such as the current match-fixing scandal involving 26 players in the Korean Basketball League.
“Ample Evidence and Reasons”
CEO of Nature Republic, the judge in the case believes the state has an easy case to prove. Presiding Judge Lee Seung-kyu said, “There are ample evidence and reasons for putting him under detention.”
Jeong Un-Ho founded Faceshop in 2003 and has been one of the country’s leading executives in the fashion industry. Eight members of a local gang also were detained for operating illegal gambling businesses and luring people into their operations.
About Nature Republic
Nature Republic is a cosmetics line which was founded in 2009. Since 2010, Jeong Un-ho has been the company’s chief executive officer. Due to his direction, Nature Republic has opened shops in several foreign countries, including Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, which all were opened in 2010. In 2011, the company expanded into Cambodia. In 2012, Nature Republic opened a shop in Philippines.
The Manila-based business might have been fateful for the company’s CEO, because that is where Jeong Un-ho’s illegal gambling activities began in 2012. One can only imagine that the trips to the illegal gaming shops took place during business trips to the Philippines to help open the new Nature Republic shop, or to check in on its ongoing operations.
Korean Basketball League Match-Fixing
The Korean Basketball League scandal includes 26 current and former players, who are under investigation by the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency. The investigation began in February after a member of the Samsung Thunders was suspected of missing shots on purpose in a game against the ET Land Elephants. The player wagered $830 on the game, giving a motive for his bad shooting night.
Park Min-soon, the GPPA’s Head of Cybercrimes Division, announced on September 9 that a wide-ranging investigation was underway. Since then, the KBL investigation has been major news in South Korea.
Affects Basketball, Judo, and Wrestling
The investigation includes 11 basketball players, 12 judo athletes, and 1 wrestler. The players are alleged to have gambled on basketball, baseball, and football games over a 6-year period from 2009 to 2015.
None of the players in the wider investigation have been accused of fixing games just yet, but are thought to have violated South Korea’s strict ban against its own citizens gambling.
Kim Sun-Hyung Involved
The most prominent current player involved is said to be Kim Sun-Hyung, a Seoul SK Knights player who represented the country in the William Jones Cup recently. South Korea’s sports culture has been racked with illegal gambling and match-fixing scandals in recent years.
No less than players in football, basketball, motorboat racing, and volleyball have been charged for crimes. 57 people were charged with crimes in the K-League scandal of 2011, which involved 46 players and 11 gang members. Kang Dong-Hee, a legendary basketball player and coach, was convicted of fixing games in 2013 and has been banned permanently from his sport.
Gambling in South Korea
Despite its draconian laws against gambling for its citizens, South Korea has a substantial brick-and-mortar gambling industry. The country has 18 land-based casinos located in 10 different cities. South Korea also has 3 racetracks in 3 separate cities. Though South Koreans cannot play at the gaming venues, foreign visitors are welcome. Many Chinese and Japanese gamblers frequent the gaming enclaves.
The most substantial is the Jeju Island casinos, which caters to Chinese gamblers. At present, Malaysian gambling giant Genting Group is planning a billion-dollar gaming venture for Jeju Isle. Mohegan Sun, the Native American tribal casino operator out of Connecticut, also has plans to build an integrated casino in South Korea. The contradictions of South Korea’s gaming laws seem to be a spur to many residents’ flouting the laws. If it is approved for foreigners to gamble in South Korea, many well-to-do or wealthy South Koreans might not see much wrong with gambling, either.
Certainly , Jeong Un-Ho saw nothing wrong with gambling for real money, at least when he was doing so in a foreign country with legalized forms of gambling.