Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo gets diaper duty

Strange things can result when you combine a flexible justice system, very deep pockets and a corporate publicity machine.

Like a photo of Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo bottle-feeding a baby.

Chung’s three-year sentence for embezzling about $100 million to set up political slush funds was suspended after he promised to give about $815 million to charity and perform 300 hours of community service.

His service assignment initially was to write newspaper columns and make speeches on corporate ethics. But officials, perhaps sensing the irony, scrapped that idea. Instead he’ll do the first 100 hours of his not-so-hard time feeding and cleaning babies at an orphanage near Seoul.

Probation officials say other possible future duties include cleanup work at the site of South Korea’s worst-ever oil spill, which occurred last December off Korea’s west coast; planting trees in areas damaged by forest fires last year; and helping to repair damage from floods during the upcoming July rainy season, should any damage occur.

As of last week, Chung had worked six days at the orphanage and paid $58 million into a fund meant to be used for charity. No count on the number of diapers changed.

June 30, 2008 | Automotive News Europe