SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday declined to comment on whether he would grant a presidential amnesty for Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, who is currently on parole after serving time for bribery and embezzlement.
Yoon made the remarks upon arrival at his office in response to a question about speculation he is mulling wide-ranging pardons on the occasion of the Aug. 15 anniversary of Liberation Day marking the 1945 end of Japan's colonial rule of Korea, and the Samsung chief could be one of the beneficiaries.
"Since the past, it has been a principle to make no mention at all on the issue of pardons, such as to what extent it will be carried out," Yoon told reporters when asked about business circles' appeal for pardoning Lee to help overcome economic difficulties.
Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison by the Seoul High Court in a retrial of a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye. He was released on parole in August last year.
Even after his prison term ends on July 29, he would still be subject to some post-prison restrictions, and local business circles have called for a pardon to set him free from all such restrictions as well.
Yoon has hinted that the government may use force to break up the prolonged strike by subcontract workers at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME), saying that he believes the country has "waited long enough" for the strike to end.
Asked whether he reviews the possibility of using force to break up the strike, Yoon replied that he will not give an answer any more to the matter.
Subcontract workers at DSME have been striking since June 2, leading to a standstill in shipbuilding operations and causing up to hundreds of billions of won in losses for the company.
The workers have demanded higher wages and occupied the firm's shipyard on Geoje Island, South Gyeongsang Province.
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