South Korean Tycoon's Son Convicted of Assault After Brawling at Bar

  • Kim is latest in string of cases involving chaebol misconduct
  • Conviction comes amid mounting scrutiny of conglomerates

A scion of South Korea’s Hanwha Group was convicted of assault, joining his father in the growing list of chaebol executives found guilty of misconduct at a time when scrutiny is mounting on the founding families that rule the nation’s biggest conglomerates.

Kim Dong-seon, the youngest son of the group’s chairman, was found guilty on Wednesday of assaulting employees at a bar and damaging a police car that was transporting the 27-year old to a local police station on Jan. 5, a spokesman at the Seoul Central District Court said. The court sentenced him to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 80 hours of community service.

Kim has resigned from his post as team leader at Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corp.

Kim wasn’t reachable and a Hanwha Group spokesman said he had no comments on what he described as a personal issue. Kim said previously on trial that he regretted his actions and vowed not to repeat them, according to Yonhap.

Samsung’s Lee Faces Tougher Climate for Korean Corporate Pardons

Korea’s chaebol, the family-controlled business empires that control much of the country’s corporate landscape, have been under increasing fire after the corruption scandal surrounding impeached President Park Geun-hye shined a spotlight on the cozy ties between government and the nation’s business elite. On Thursday, the trial of Korea’s top tycoon -- Samsung Electronics Co. Vice chairman Jay Y. Lee -- begins as prosecutors try to prove the billionaire conspired to funnel millions of dollars to a confidante of President Park to help secure control of the world’s largest smartphone maker.

In late 2014, the daughter of Korean Air Lines Co.’s chairman drew international attention after she ordered a plane to go back to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport so she could expel a crew member to take responsibility for serving macadamia nuts in an incorrect way. Heather Cho was later jailed after drawing charges including changing a plane’s flight path, though she was freed months later with a suspended sentence.

To read an explainer on Korea’s chaebol, click here

Kim’s father, Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-youn, received an 18-month sentence in 2007 for an assault case but was pardoned in 2008.

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