Korea’s Wealthy Troublemakers (7): Dongkuk Steel Chang Sun-ik. Dongkuk Steel Director Chang Sun-ik, left, shattered five bottles of whiskey during his birthday party in late 2016 when his father, Chairman Chang Sae-joo, right, was imprisoned for charges of gambling in the United States with money he embezzled. Photo courtesy of Dongkuk Steel

Dongkuk heir’s drunken rampage while his father was in jail

This is the eighth of a series, which highlights Korea’s wealthy businesspeople who caused troubles related to drugs, alcohol, and power harassment called “gap-jil” here. _ ED.

On December 26, 2016, Dongkuk Steel Director Chang Sun-ik was celebrating his 34th birthday with four friends at a bar in Seoul’s upscale Gangnam district.

The eldest son of Dongkuk Steel Chairman Chang Sae-joo would have been very happy because he became a director of the steelmaker early in the month.

Back then, it was surprising news because Chang Sun-ik was promoted from a manager’s job to an executive position overnight, which would take decades for others.

While under the influence of alcohol, however, Chang messed up things that night by throwing a cup into the bar’s display case, thus shattering five whiskey bottles. Police was called in to book the young scion for the destruction of property.

The havoc grabbed headlines the next day, prompting Chang to make a public apology for his drunken rampage through Dongkuk’s public relations team.

Without identifying sources, some media outlets reported that Chang broke the bottles because he was enraged after the bar charged 300,000 won ($250) for a birthday cake.

Then, some sympathized with Chang as the cake seems to be way too expensive. But the bar’s owner countered that the price was a mere 38,000 won ($30).

Chang was not punished because the prosecution reportedly dropped the case as the bar’s owner did not want to punish him.

Of note is that the Dongkuk Steel heir made the drunken rampage at a time when his father was in prison.

Chairman Chang was put behind bars in May 2015 on charges of gambling at high-end casinos in Las Vegas with millions of dollars he embezzled.

The court handed down a 42-month jail term to the chairman, who was released in 2018.

The 2016 mishap appears not to have damaged the status of Chang Sun-ik, who took charge of the significant position of Dongkuk’s business strategy team head in 2018.

After studying at Yonsei University in Seoul and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Chang Sun-ik got aboard Dongkuk in early 2007. He became an executive in 10 years.