Hanwha Vice President Kim Dong-won, left, and former SPC Vice President Hur Hee-soo/Courtesy of Hanwha Life & SPC

Hanwha, SPC heirs punished for drug use

One of the most-read stories of last month was about Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin, who is accused of having taken an addictive drug of propofol, which cannot be administered for recreational purposes.

A former nurse at a cosmetic clinic in southern Seoul claimed that Lee took propofol shots for non-medical purposes in 2016. Lee countered that she visited the hospital at issue for legitimate treatment.

The police started investigations into the case to check which side is lying. If the nurse’s remarks are true, the Samsung Group heiress might be subject to criminal charges.

Propofol is a short-acting and sedative-hypnotic agent, which induces and maintains anesthesia. Korea classified it as a psychotropic drug in 2011 because its misuse can be fatal.

In fact, Korean conglomerates otherwise called chaebol have an assorted history with drugs. Especially two third-generation businessmen were involved in drug scandals.

One is Kim Dong-won, the second son of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn, and the other is Hur Hee-soo, the vice president of Korean food and beverage giant SPC.

Kim was found to have smoked cannabis four times, which were smuggled by U.S. Forces Korea. The Yale University graduate, who currently works at Hanwha Life Insurance, got a jail term suspended for two years.

Besides, he was ordered to attend sessions aimed at dealing with drug addicts. Three years earlier, he was fined around $6,000 for fleeing the scene of a car crash.

Kim is a grandson of Hanwha Group founder Kim Chong-hee. Hanwha is a multi-profile business conglomerate whose interests range from explosives to retail and financial services.

SPC Vice President Hur was put behind bars last year after being arrested over suspicions that he smuggled and smoked liquid cannabis. He received a jail term suspended for four years from a Seoul district court.

Hur is the second son of SPC Chairman Hur Young-in and grandson of Hur Chang-sung, the founder of Samlip, the precursor of SPC. SPC holds several food brands including the country’s largest bakery chain Paris Baguette.

Hur was a promising businessman _ he spearheaded the enterprise to bring in Shake Shack, a famous burger chain in New York, to Korea in 2016. But he resigned from the vice president post in the wake of the drug scandal.


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