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PPP ethics committee suspends Daegu mayor's party membership for 10 months over controversial golf outing

By Yonhap

Published : July 26, 2023 - 19:19

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Hong Joon-pyo (Herald DB) Hong Joon-pyo (Herald DB)

The ethics committee of the ruling People Power Party on Wednesday decided to suspend Daegu Mayor Hong Joon-pyo's party membership for 10 months over his controversial golf outing when the country was struggling with damage from heavy downpours.

Hong played golf for one hour on July 15. Though play was suspended due to rain, critics say it was inappropriate for a public servant to play golf at a time when the country was struggling with massive damage caused by the heavy rains that claimed the lives of at least 40 people.

The mayor initially balked at the criticism, arguing he did nothing wrong as there were no reports of damage in Daegu at the time he played golf and that he can do whatever he wants outside of work hours. He even said in a social media post that he wonders why tennis is OK and golf is not.

The committee made the decision unanimously after reviewing additional documents submitted by Hong. It marks the first time the party's ethics committee has taken disciplinary action against a mayor or governor since 2015.

Hwang Jeong-geun, head of the committee, said the panel judged that Hong's golfing and subsequent remarks violated the party's ethics code and alienated public sentiment from the party.

After the committee's announcement, Hong expressed his wish that the decision would put an end to the controversy. He wrote on social media that he did not want the issue to be prolonged, further amplifying the conflict surrounding it.

Last Tuesday, PPP leader Kim Gi-hyeon ordered an investigation, and the party decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Hong.

The next day, Hong held a press conference to apologize for his actions.

He also deleted the problematic social media posts and submitted a written statement, as well as a list of staff members on duty during the downpours, to the ethics committee. (Yonhap)