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Hotels offer gift sets in line with planned revision of anti-graft regulation

All News 09:00 January 06, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- Hotels in South Korea have increased the number of gift sets worth less than 100,000 won (US$94) ahead of next month's Lunar New Year, industry sources said Saturday.

The move came weeks after a government watchdog revised the country's controversial anti-graft regulation in a way that raises the ceiling on the value of gifts that public servants can receive with respect to farm and fishery products.

The enforcement ordinance of the so-called Kim Young-ran Law -- named after the former Supreme Court justice and the law's architect -- was revised to double the limit to 100,000 won from 50,000 won for gifts that are agricultural, livestock and fishery products or their processed goods.

South Korean officials plan to use an array of administrative procedures, including a Cabinet endorsement, to ensure the enforcement ordinance takes effect ahead of Lunar New Year.

Farmers and fishermen have complained that the law seriously affected their revenues.

Lotte Hotels & Resorts, the largest hotel group in South Korea, said it has offered 22 types of gift sets for agricultural, livestock and fishery products that are worth less than 100,000 won for the Lunar New Year in February.

The figures represent a 35-percent hike from what Lotte Hotel offered for last year's Chuseok holiday, which is equivalent to Thanksgiving Day in the United States, according to Lotte Hotel.

Lunar New Year and Chuseok are two of the most widely celebrated holidays in South Korea.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, which has two hotels in southern Seoul, said it will have about 10 gift sets worth less than 100,000 won available.

Meanwhile, Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel said it offers gift sets at reasonable prices. The hotel said "hanwoo" beef jerky is worth 49,000 won. Hanwoo refers to a Korean breed of cattle that usually fetches premium prices, and hanwoo gift sets have typically been one of the most popular items among South Koreans.

Sales of packaged gift sets of agricultural and livestock products during Lunar New Year in 2017 came to 124.2 billion won, down 25.8 percent from a year earlier, according to industry data.

The anti-graft law took effect in 2016 as part of South Korea's efforts to curb the deep-rooted tradition of excessive hospitality and to root out bribery.

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