Choigate in South Korea

'Special treatment' for Choi's daughter under scrutiny

Ms Chung and her teammates receiving gold medals at the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014. She was admitted to the prestigious Ewha Womans University on the strength of the medal. Critics accused the university of giving her preferential treatment becau
Ms Chung and her teammates receiving gold medals at the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014. She was admitted to the prestigious Ewha Womans University on the strength of the medal. Critics accused the university of giving her preferential treatment because of her mother. PHOTO: FEDERATION EQUESTRE INTERNATIONALE

South Korean equestrian athlete Chung Yoo Ra, 20, dreams of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But her dream may be shattered by a double scandal.

While her mother Choi Soon Sil is embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal involving her long-time friend, South Korean President Park Geun Hye, Ms Chung is facing accusations that she received preferential treatment at Ewha Womans University, the country's most prestigious college for women.

Critics accused the university of giving Ms Chung special treatment because of her mother, adding equestrian dressage to its special admissions list just before she was given a place last year, and giving her undeserved grades.

Ms Chung, who snagged a team gold medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, was admitted to the university on the strength of the medal and started attending the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Studies in March last year.


Ms Chung and her teammates receiving gold medals at the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014. She was admitted to the prestigious Ewha Womans University on the strength of the medal. Critics accused the university of giving her preferential treatment because of her mother. PHOTO: FEDERATION EQUESTRE INTERNATIONALE

This is despite the fact that her medal was won four days after university application closed.

An investigative committee made up of professors has been set up to look into the various accusations, according to local reports.

The scandal drew harsh criticism from fellow students, many of whom had spent years studying very hard to pass the national college entrance exam to get into the university.

They feel it is unfair for Ms Chung to get preferential treatment just because she is the daughter of the President's good friend.

SOCIAL MEDIA FAUX PAS

Blame your own parents if they don't have the ability. Don't point fingers at us if your parents don't have what it takes. Money is also a form of ability.

SOUTH KOREAN EQUESTRIAN ATHLETE CHUNG YOO RA, in a Facebook post in 2014 that drew ire.

Ms Chung, who trains in Germany, is also under scrutiny by the media for potential wrongdoing.

JoongAng Ilbo, one of the country's largest newspapers, said that tech giant Samsung is "suspected of lavishly sponsoring" her and buying a horse for her.

Earlier, Ms Chung had drawn ire for a 2014 Facebook post.

"Blame your own parents if they don't have the ability. Don't point fingers at us if your parents don't have what it takes. Money is also a form of ability," she wrote, angering many social media users for her arrogant and elitist attitude.

Chang May Choon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 06, 2016, with the headline ''Special treatment' for Choi's daughter under scrutiny'. Print Edition | Subscribe