Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The opposition to new South Korean Justice Minister Cho Kuk is giving rise to a backlash against well-heeled conservatives who stand against his appointment, and their children.
Rep. Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party, is falling under scrutiny after local media reported her son had received preferential treatment when he was a high school student, according to Seoul Shinmun on Wednesday.
Na's son, who attends Yale University and reportedly majors in biochemistry, was listed as the "first author" in a research summary for a paper presented at a medical engineering conference at Seoul National University.
The listing occurred when he was attending St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H., and mirrors some of the details of the allegations surrounding Cho's daughter, Cho Min.
A scientific paper titled, "eNOS Gene Polymorphisms in Perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy" published in the journal of the Korea Society of Pathologists, a medical association, in March 2009, included Cho's name as the "first author," along with senior academics. Cho would have been 17 years old at the time.
Na said she finds it "regrettable" her son's case is being compared to Cho's, since her son, who has not been publicly identified, "conducted the experiments himself and wrote about it."
Na also said her son graduated first in his class at his elite prep school in New England.
State prosecutors are investigating allegations that Cho and his wife forged documents and used personal connections to help their daughter gain admission to prestigious schools.
The relatively privileged background of South Korean lawmakers is increasingly under public scrutiny amid low economic growth in Asia's fourth-largest economy.
The Korea Herald reported the son of Liberty Korea Party politician Rep. Chang Je-won attempted to bribe a motorcyclist, while referring to his powerful father, after he crashed his car while under the influence of alcohol.
On Wednesday, Cho Kuk met with representatives of youth unions who represent young South Koreans of low-income backgrounds.
The groups told Cho their members are not given the same opportunities as their peers with wealthier parents, and that they struggle to stay in school because of finances, according to Seoul Shinmun.