- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

2:34 p.m.

SEOUL (AP) — A South Korean business tycoon was arrested today for purportedly taking part in a revenge attack on bar workers after his son was hurt in a fight at a karaoke pub.

Hanwha Group Chairman and Chief Executive Kim Seung-youn is suspected of kicking, punching and using a steel pipe to attack bar workers purportedly involved in a scuffle with his 22-year-old son on March 8 at the pub.

After questioning Mr. Kim at a hearing earlier today, the Seoul District Court accepted a prosecution request made a day earlier to issue an arrest warrant for him, said Hanwha spokesman Ju Cheol-beom.

Earlier, Mr. Kim said he regrets that he “failed to control impulsive emotion” and apologized for causing trouble. “I hope there will never be a silly father like me again,” Mr. Kim told reporters after the court hearing.

The dramatic details of the case, which the press has likened to a gangster movie, have drawn intense public interest in South Korea, where the heads of family-controlled conglomerates wield great economic, political and social clout.

The younger Mr. Kim, a student at Yale University, reportedly suffered an injury that required 11 stitches in the scuffle on stairs outside the karaoke pub.

Victims have told police the elder Mr. Kim and his bodyguards took them to a mountainous area south of Seoul, where Mr. Kim purportedly assaulted them, including hitting one of them on the back with a 5-foot steel pipe.

Hanwha was established in 1952 as the Korea Explosives Corp. It later developed interests in petrochemicals, finance, insurance, construction and retail. It also owns the Hanwha Eagles professional baseball team.

Mr. Kim, South Korea’s ninth-richest man, is worth about $971 million, according to Chaebul.com, a Web site that tracks the fortunes of the conglomerate chiefs and their families based on current stock prices.

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