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(LEAD) Letter 'king' on leading opposition presidential hopeful's palm causes stir

All News 16:17 October 03, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS last 3 paras with Yoon's comments)

SEOUL, Oct. 3 (Yonhap) -- Yoon Seok-youl, a leading presidential contender of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), has come under criticism after the palm of his hand showed that it had the Chinese character meaning "king" written on it.

The letter, pronounced "wang" in Korean, was spotted when Yoon held up his left hand as he made some hand gestures while speaking during the fifth television debate among the PPP presidential hopefuls on the cable channel MBN on Friday.

The word, apparently written with a black marker, was shown clearly on the screen. It turned out that Yoon had kept the same letter on his palm in the two previous TV debates as well.

His political rivals from both the PPP and the ruling Democratic Party have been hurling criticism, with Rep. Hong Joon-pyo of the PPP, Yoon's main rival, likening the act to "recruiting a shaman" for the presidential election.

"It has turned out that he wears an amulet. I just cannot help but think how absurd this is. He should give up this 'amulet election.' It's a childish act that undercuts the dignity of politics," Hong said earlier.

Rep. Song Young-gil of the DP also lashed out at Yoon, accusing him of thinking that becoming president is like becoming a king.

Yoon denied the speculation, saying one of his supporters wrote him that to cheer him up and it has nothing to do with "kings, presidents or shamanistic meaning."

"The supporter wrote that so that I can fare well in the debate with confidence and in high spirit, like a king," Yoon told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

"But I think it would've been more appropriate if I had paid more attention and wiped it off before I went in (to the debate). I did not think that far," he said.

This image, captured from the YouTube channel of cable station MBN on Oct. 2, 2021, shows Yoon Seok-youl, a leading presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), with the Chinese character "king" written on the palm of his left hand, during a television debate the previous day. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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