Looking back at 2015: Domestic news

by Philip Gowman on 8 January, 2016 updated 15 February, 2018

in 2015 year-end posts | Bloggers and newspeople | Business & economy | Human Rights | In the news | LGBT | Military | Society | Statistics and league tables

Our final look back at 2015: mainly domestic news stories from South Korea.

In the news

The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court (photo: 김상선/Korea JoongAng Daily)

Heather Cho

Heather Cho

  • Nut Rage Hanjin heiress Heather Cho’s jail sentence of 12 months was reduced to a 10 month suspended sentence on appeal.
  • A women who had fallen asleep on the floor woke up to find a robot vacuum cleaner eating her hair.
  • An anti gay pride demonstration in Seoul was itself pretty gay.
  • 179 university lecturers were prosecuted for plagiarism, the charge being that they had republished pre-existing books putting their names on the cover
  • A student at a Virginia High School claimed to have scholarship offers from both Harvard and Stanford. It later emerged that Sara Kim was a “serial fabricator”, according to the Chosun Ilbo.
Ambassador Mark Lippert

Ambassador Mark Lippert (photo Yonhap, Kim Ju-Sung)

  • The US Ambassador to Seoul was hospitalised after being attacked by a protestor.
  • A UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes completed his visit to South Korea calling on the government to called on the Republic of Korea to step up efforts in protecting those who live in environmentally high-risk areas. Reckitt Benkiser’s humidifier disinfectant and the hazardous chemicals used at Samsung Electronics were called out.
  • A missing Korean teenager was found to have joined ISIS. A group linked to ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on the Korean embassy in Libya in which two local guards were killed. Two hundred Syrians sought asylum in Korea.

Living

Politics

  • President Park announced a crowdfunding initiative to ease youth unemployment – the Youth Hope fund – and donated Won 20m. A month later Samsung’s Lee Kun-hee and Hyundai’s Chung Mong-koo donated 20bn and 15bn respectively.
  • Voters in Gyeongsangnam-do tried to get their governor Hong Joon-pyo recalled for abuse of power and unpopular decisions such as the ending of free school meals. The governor was implicated in the corruption scandal linked to President Park’s 2012 election campaign.
  • The government announced plans to rewrite school history textbooks, causing concern that dissenting views would be written out of history.
  • Publication of former president Lee Myung-bak’s memoirs disclosed details of North-South relations which many would have preferred remain confidential.
  • A huge fighter jet deal with the US went wrong when the US refused to transfer certain technologies. Heads rolled, and the ambassador in London got a hasty recall and promotion to 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. As part of his new job he had to try to sell the Comfort Women “deal” to the Comfort Women.

Business and economy

The new Hyundai Popemobile

The new Hyundai Popemobile (source: Korea Times)

IKEA's store in Gwangmyeon, Gyeonggi-do

IKEA’s store in Gwangmyeon, Gyeonggi-do (photo: Jung Yeon-Je / AFP)

Everything else

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