NATIONAL

Liberty Korea Party chairman in hot seat over comments about son’s job qualifications

By Kim Bo-gyung

Chairman says he did not lie, as his son has higher qualifications

  • Published : Jun 24, 2019 - 14:58
  • Updated : Jun 24, 2019 - 18:00

Hwang Kyo-ahn, chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, on Monday argued that he had not lied about his son’s qualifications after his remarks on the matter during a lecture sparked controversy.

“If I had said a score that was higher than the actual score -- that would have been a lie. But I am not sure if the other way round is (a lie),” Hwang told reporters after a meeting at the National Assembly. 

Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn (left) gives a lecture at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Last week, Hwang spoke about his son, who landed a job at a conglomerate despite having a GPA of below 3.0 and a TOEIC score of about 800. He said that “conglomerates focus on specialized qualifications rather than spec.”

Spec is short for specifications and refers to a job seeker’s qualifications, such as educational background, grades and English test scores.

Hwang added that his son had been editor-in-chief of an English newspaper in high school; created an online program connecting students with disabilities with nondisabled people; and received an award from the minister of health and welfare.

Hwang had made these remarks during a lecture at a university in Seoul, aimed at encouraging students to develop skills in addition to achieving high test scores. His comments drew flak, as college graduates often have difficulty finding employment upon graduation.

His remarks also sparked suspicions of alleged hiring irregularities at KT.

Hwang’s son had studied law at Yonsei University and joined KT -- South Korea’s No. 2 mobile carrier -- in 2011, beating the odds of one in 87.

To ease backlash, Hwang issued a statement on social media saying, “My son’s GPA was 3.29, TOEIC 925 points.”

However, the post sparked further controversy that Hwang had lied about his son’s qualifications.

Asked by a reporter if he denies having lied, Hwang said, “I hope you understand it as I have said.”

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)