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2017-11-22 15:37
By Jhoo Dong-chan

Batters strike out with three strikes in baseball. So, they usually become more careful and focused as the strike count goes up.

However, the rule of “three strikes and you’re out” is unlikely to apply to Kim Dong-seon, the third son of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn.

The junior Kim was given his first strike when he assaulted bar employees and obstructed police while drunk this past January. Two months later, a Seoul court sentenced him to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and 80 hours of community service.

But he got another strike eight months later.

The 28-year-old under probation created a similar scene in September when he joined a party at a bar in central Seoul for new recruits of Kim & Chang, a major Korean law firm.

An hour after the party started, Kim allegedly began irritating others while drunk, and attacked lawyers there. He allegedly grabbed one female lawyer by her hair. Strike two.

The lawyers at the scene said they didn’t immediately report him to police because they were afraid accusing him might offend Hanwha and cause their firm to lose the conglomerate's business.

Above all, Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn, himself, is a renowned “slugger” as he boasted of his skills with a steel pipe against bar workers who hurt his second son Kim Dong-won after an unintended shoulder check at the bar caused a fight in 2007.

Will the junior Kim be able to avoid a third strike? It is not certain. But experience tells us sons of business tycoons do not care about such things as strike three.

A series of incidents engulfing the Hanwha Group family are, however, in stark contrast to former Hanwha Eagles outfielder Kim Won-seok, another big-time hitter for the group’s baseball team.

Kim’s private one-on-one social media messages with an undisclosed female fan between July and September were made public in which he called his team’s then-manager Lee Sang-gun an idiot and Chungcheong Province, where the Eagles' home city is located, a region crowded with stupid people. He also labeled President Moon Jae-in a communist.

The Hanwha Eagles immediately summoned Kim, who was participating in team training in Japan at the time, to a disciplinary committee Monday. After several hours of evaluating the circumstances, the team announced its decision to oust him. Struck out with one strike.

Hanwha Group’s long love for baseball is nothing new since the conglomerate has actively communicated with Hanwha Eagles fans while investing a great deal of money to sign star players from other teams.

Baseball is a sport of rules and discipline. No player can stand at bat with more than three strikes.

It is understandable that the Eagles ousted a player who created a public outcry with inappropriate personal messages. But the group’s double standard with its heirs is unpalatable to fans.

Because the fans all know the group’s heir will still be “at bat” even after four or five strikes without heeding rules or discipline.

It is probably the reason why the Hanwha Eagles haven’t played in the postseason in more seasons than any other teams in the league.


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