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Firms expand 'clean card' use over anti-graft law

All News 11:27 September 29, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's corporate hospitality culture is in a paradigm shift, just two days into the introduction of a draconian anti-corruption law.

Local firms are bent on providing workers, especially those in charge of dealing with the government, the National Assembly and the press, with detailed legal information on the so-called Kim Young-ran Act, named after the former chief of the state anti-corruption body.

They struggle to avoid the dishonor of becoming the first violators of the law either deliberately or inadvertently.

The legislation affects millions of South Korean civil servants, journalists and school teachers.

A computer-generated image of South Korea's new anti-graft law. (Yonhap)

They cannot receive free meals valued more than 30,000 won (US$27) and gifts are capped at 50,000 won. Violators face jail or fines.

In addition to internal education, companies are taking systemic measures to spread the use of "clean cards," which government agencies introduced several years ago. Unlike ordinary corporate credit cards, clean cards are automatically blocked at establishments that provide lavish services such as golf courses and room salons.

CJ Group has replaced all corporate cards with clean cards.

"We have already used clean cards partially but the use of those cards has been expanded to all employees with the Kim Young-ran Act taking effect," a group official said.

Lotte Group is also pushing for the expansion of clean cards.

Officials at South Korea's Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission are at work in their Seoul office on Sept. 28, 2016, when the so-called Kim Young-ran act took effect. (Yonhap)

Another urgent task for companies here is to find effective ways to maintain "communication" with the government, media outlets and the National Assembly.

"There is no other method but to change the mind-set and hospitality culture voluntarily," an official at SK Networks said. "We will try to meet related outside officials more often instead of having expensive meals. We plan to have more lunch or coffee meetings than dinner with them."

lcd@yna.co.kr
(END)

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