Korean ex-dictator Chun Doo-hwan’s artwork auctioned to pay debts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 9:44pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 March, 2014, 9:44pm


Artworks confiscated from the family of former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan have been auctioned to pay multimillion-dollar fines imposed for bribes the disgraced military strongman received in office.

Two auction houses said they had raised 7.2 billion won (HK$52 million) from the sale of 600 art works since December.

The figure raised still falls far short of the 167.2 billion won Chun has been ordered to pay.

Lee Sang-gyu, the head of K-Auction, said the last batch of 97 items fetched 1.36 billion won, more than twice their estimate.

Among the works were three pieces of calligraphy written by Chun that went for between one and five million won each.

Succumbing to pressure from prosecutors, Chun's family in September agreed to put their assets, including a large house in Seoul where Chun and his wife live, up for sale.

Chun, now 83, seized power after the 1979 assassination of longtime military ruler Park Chung-hee. His eight-year rule was noted for the corruption of his administration and mass pro-democracy protests.

Chun was convicted of insurrection and corruption and ordered to pay 220 billion won in restitution to the state.

He returned a small portion of the sum, arguing he did not have the necessary cash or assets.

President Park Geun-hye, the daughter of another dictator, Park Chung-hee, has chided her predecessors for not pushing Chun hard enough to pay up.

Chun's son and his brother-in-law were both given suspended jail sentences last month after being convicted of tax evasion.