Samsung C&T has dismissed the person in charge of an illegal surveillance operation that monitored and covertly tailed a stockholder attending a general stockholder's meeting.
On March 16, Samsung C&T posted words of apology on a blog under the name of President Choi Chi-hun.
The statement by Choi read, “Our employees kept watch on a civil petitioner’s movement, which was very wrong to do, in preparation for the stockholders’ general meeting. It is something that cannot happen and should not happen. Above all, I truly apologize to the person concerned with the affair.”
Samsung C&T announced that it dismissed the person in charge of the surveillance operation, the head of the housing division.
On March 13, the day of the general stockholder's meeting, approximately 30 employees of the Customer Satisfaction Department in Samsung C&T watched and followed the appealing person surnamed Kang, 62, who lives in a Samsung Raemian Apartment complex in Seoul.
According to the Kyunghyang Shinmun, 27 employees of the CS department talked about the woman's movements in a group chat room on Kakao Talk. The first message was posted at 6:13 a.m. on March 13, saying “The lights didn’t go on yet in the appealing person’s house.” Then, the messages kept being posted, saying that the lights were now on in the house at 6:46 a.m., and explaining what the petitioner was wearing that day. From the early morning, they watched the civil petitioner’s movements.
Also, Samsung C&T’s employees reported the route she took to the meeting place in detail on Kakao Talk, including posting pictures of her walking in a white coat, black pants, and white shoes at 7:44 a.m.
In the messages, there was also the direction that the head of the department, whose surname is Hong, should sit in the aisle right next to Kang in the meeting and deal with her if she acted unpredictably, including moving with her if she moved to a front seat.
Kang has been filing civil complaints with the company for five years after she moved in one of the Samsung Raemian Apartments. She has complained about noise problems in the parking lots.
Before the Big Deal with Hanwha, the same group also watched the union members of Samsung’s affiliates who opposed the deal.
They reported, saying “Eight union leaders, including Yoon Jong-kyun, union leader of Samsung Techwin, have arrived at Seongnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the place where the general meeting of stockholders of Techwin is taking place, preparing a picket demonstration” in a Kakao chat room.
The real names of the eight union leaders and messages saying they were entering the meeting were also posted. The Kakao chat room was closed with the last message of executive director surnamed Park, saying, “Thank you for your efforts.”
This is not the first time that Samsung C&T kept watch on civilians. In 2012, the prosecution investigation disclosed the fact that an employee of Samsung C&T’s inspection division followed CJ Group Chairman Lee Jay-hyun using an illegal phone under another persons’ identity, which had great social repercussions. It happened during the quarrel over the inheritance between the families of Samsung and CJ Group founders.
Chairman Lee Jay-hyun is the nephew of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, and he and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong are cousins.