|South Korea Table of Contents
Chun zealously pushed his campaign to weed out corruption. The clean-up campaign began in May 1980 when Kim Chong-p'il and others were forced to give up their wealth and retire from politics. In June some 300 senior KCIA agents were dismissed. In July 1980, more than 230 senior officials, including former cabinet officers, were dismissed on corruption charges. The ax also fell on 4,760 low-level officials in the government, state-owned firms, and banks, with the proviso that the former officials not be rehired by such firms within two years. The Martial Law Command arrested 17 prominent politicians of both the government and opposition parties for investigation and removed some 400 bank officials, including 4 bank presidents and 21 vice presidents. The government also announced the dismissal of 1,819 officials of public enterprises and affiliated agencies, including 39 (some 25 percent) of the presidents and vice presidents of such enterprises and banks and 128 board directors (more than 22 percent).
The "clean-up campaign" also extended to the mass media. On July 31, 1980, the 172 periodicals that allegedly caused "social decay and juvenile delinquency" were summarily abolished, among them some of the finest intellectual magazines of liberal inclination and prestigious journals for general audiences. This action resulted in the dismissal of hundreds of journalists and staff. The daily newspapers not affected by the purge also were directed to weed out "corrupting"--that is, liberal writers.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress