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South Korea Fears Shared Revenues Aiding Its Enemy
SEOUL, South Korea Kim Beom-hoon was hailed as a trailblazer when he
went into the online gambling business with North Korea. It seemed the
perfect way to bridge a 50-year divide and open up one of the world’s
most isolated countries.
But two years later the South Korean businessman has run afoul of his
country’s gambling laws, as well as its ambivalence about whether to
treat its communist neighbour as friend or foe.
The South Korean government planned to revoke his business license
last week, and prosecutors are going after 15 South Koreans who have
gambled more than 3 million won ($2,560 U.S.) each.
Kim maintains the real problem is a country that can’t make up its
mind how to deal with its neighbour woo it peacefully into the market
economy, or treat investments in North Korea as aid to a dangerous
"This is a case that shows how the two Koreas still cannot trust and
understand each other after living 50 years without communications," Kim
"I have spent money and sweat on this project, and I am now a victim
of the Unification Ministry’s reluctance to open Internet contacts
between the two Koreas," he said.
"I am frustrated and sick and tired of this absurd government
behaviour. If they punish businessmen like me, who is going to do
business with North Korea?”
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