South Korea newspaper owner arrested for embezzlement

Chang Jae Ku (centre), owner of the Hankook Ilbo media group which includes several well-known dailies, magazines and a cable channel, has been arrested for embezzlement. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 
Chang Jae Ku (centre), owner of the Hankook Ilbo media group which includes several well-known dailies, magazines and a cable channel, has been arrested for embezzlement. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

SEOUL (AFP) - Police have arrested the chairman of one of South Korea's major newspapers on charges of embezzling millions of dollars, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Chang Jae Ku, owner of the Hankook Ilbo media group which includes several well-known dailies, magazines and a cable channel, was arrested on Monday night.

Chang, 65, is accused of embezzling company funds worth 13 billion won (S$14.7 million) for his personal use and causing the group a further financial loss of 30 billion won by offering business benefits to his creditors.

The labour union of the Hankook Ilbo - the group's flagship newspaper - had asked Seoul prosecutors to investigate Chang back in April.

The management responded by firing the paper's editor-in-chief, banning most unionised reporters from entering the newsroom and withholding their salaries.

The group - the longtime organiser of the Miss Korea beauty pageant - has suffered financial troubles for years.