Vincent Boland: South Korea? Nice economy and culture, shame about the politics

We can’t get enough of its smartphones, movies and K-pop, but corruption is rife in the Asian country and its new president is unlikely to change the status quo

South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-Yeol. One of his less attractive campaign promises was to abolish the ministry of women and gender equality. Picture: Getty

There are many interesting facts about South Korea, a beguiling country that demands our respect and admiration. It has the world’s tenth-biggest economy. Samsung, its biggest company, produces more smartphones than any of its competitors. Its boy band BTS are the world’s best-selling musical act.

But the most astonishing fact is this: at one point last year, four of South Korea’s five living ex-presidents were either in prison, or had done time in prison after ...