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Sep 23, 2013

3 immigration officers suspended for issuance of passport to South Korean national, Kim Won-Hong

Tonight, there is much more information coming out of the immigration scandal which resulted in the immediate firing of Minister of State Elvin Penner last Thursday. The catalyst for the termination seems to be the issuance of a Belizean passport to South Korean national Kim Won-Hong. That passport was processed with the speed of lightning on September ninth. An Embassy in Taipei, Taiwan raised flags and the passport was sent to the Belize Embassy; at the time Kim Won-Hong was incarcerated in Taiwan. It’s a tangled web of controversy and corruption, and Elvin Penner seems to be at the center of it all since he signed on the passport application and on the picture. Tonight, three immigration officers have been suspended pending the submission of findings of the Public Service Commission. Although official corroboration is absent pending the results of the investigation, News Five has been trying to get to the bottom of the scandal since it broke last week. Here’s that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Meet Kim Won-hong. He’s the South Korean national who has never stepped foot on Belizean soil, but received his very own Belizean passport on September ninth, thanks to former Minister of State Elvin Penner.

 

Kim Won-Hong

Kim Won-hong was arrested in Taiwan on July thirtieth and has been in lockdown since then. He is believed to be one of the key figures in an embezzlement scandal in a large company in South Korea known as the SK Group. The Chairman of that company, Chey Tae-won, is currently serving four years in a Korean prison after he was found guilty of embezzling forty-four point five million dollars and using it to purchase stocks. Kim Won-hong is closely tied to Chey Tae-won, but has escaped prosecution by refusing to return to Korea from Taiwan. He first fled to China and then surfaced in Taiwan where he is help for immigration violations after starting up businesses in Taiwan.

 

And that’s where Elvin Penner and Belize City councilor Eric Chang enter the picture. Chang purportedly has visited Kim Won-hong in the Taiwanese prison, but it is not confirmed who delivered the Belize passport to Wan Hong. Penner’s signature shows up in the passport application and the officer who processed the documents for the passport along with others at the Immigration Department are under investigation.

 

All this might have gone under the radar unnoticed, but as we told you, the passport raised red flags since it was issued while Kim Won-hong was in detention. Immigration officials who processed the passport maintain that he was in Belmopan personally and an investigation is taking place on that issue.  The Honduras embassy in Taipei got a hold of the document and forwarded it to the Belize embassy with queries, and that’s when the Belizean authorities got involved. The passport remains in Taipei under lock and key.

 

And that’s what we know so far, although the investigation is still ongoing. Currently there are more questions than official answers. One very pressing question has to be why Penner has not been criminally charged for his part in the passport fiasco.

 

We’ll have more details as they emerge, and we will continue to wait anxiously for the results of that investigation which should be completed this week.

 

A release from the Immigration Department says it is satisfied that that there has been a breach of the regulations and rules governing the issuance of the passport and that officers did “whether through negligence or acquiescence, allow a fraud to be perpetuated on the system.” While the passport scandal is not going to go away soon, there is another brewing in the horizon. There are credible reports that minister of state, Edmund Clear the Land Castro will not be travelling on official business anytime soon. There have been complaints on two occasions that the Minister behaved inappropriately toward women. The last complaint was purportedly made when Castro traveled to Taiwan. 

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10 Responses for “3 immigration officers suspended for issuance of passport to South Korean national, Kim Won-Hong”

  1. hezbollah discount says:

    >Chang purportedly has visited Kim Won-hong in the Taiwanese prison
    Good place for Chang to be.
    Somebody has to measure the fish before they hit the market price.

    >why Penner has not been criminally charged?
    UDP protects their own, plus prosecution success rate has some problems, why bother?
    A passport like that might go for $1M, a lot of people need to paid, takes time to feed the masses.
    Poor Penner got caught.
    But UPD corruption officers never go to Hattieville, they hang out in Tapei prison. Chang can come home, Penner can sub.

  2. FedUp says:

    Both Penner and Castro deserve to be locked up and have the keys thrown away. Castro is a pig. A disgrace to our country and Penner is no better. Filthy, disgusting poor excuses for human beings. The same goes for quite a few other politicians who the Belizean people have granted the privilege of governing, but who have forgotten that they were elected to serve and that Belize is not their personal playground. If hell exists, they will surely all end up there. As for the PM, he only threw Penner under the bus because of the international attention this blunder has brought. Much worse has happened within this administration and the PM’s hands are just as dirty as any other of those crooks’.

  3. Frig says:

    I agree with hezbollah discount however I must add that becuase of people like Eric Chang, Elvin Penner and many other public servants Belize is where it is. In a while nobody will respect us as Belizeans because they will be under the impression that all of us have a price and could be bought.

  4. Truth says:

    U think all the money Taiwan/China has given to BELIZE has been for freeeeeee!

    jaja Goodnes never in any new broadcast do you hear anyone saying what is BELIZE giving in turn for all the finance being provided…
    But you can see the amount of shops going up and the amount of Asians increase as if its a plague.
    And the only reason we Belizean’s are hearing about it is because PENNER’s name was internationally identified. otherwise the same story would repeat as past immigration scandals.NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN. DISGRACE!!!! and “the PM knew nothing about it ” jajajaja yea right..

  5. Liberty & Freedom says:

    So, who were the three Immigration people that were fired? How about providing names….

  6. ceo says:

    Many Belizean elected officials are mere thugs who got the most votes in an election. They have no clue how to comport themselves:

  7. public servant says:

    what about public offers who have been transferred from ministry to ministry due to corruption and are politically protected? Look no further than a particular clerk who is now at the ministry of health who was transferred from lands department due to corruption…..sent to immigration department and was part of the passport scandal (and to recent was still selling passport with john saldivar and other cronies in belmopan) and was transferred to the ministry of health. this is a clerk who drives an cadilac, owns a jeep rubicon, and lives in a 2 story house. Look no further than john saldivar’s ass and you will see him there like a tail….followed him all the way to portland to see our “jaguars” play.

    Corruption at its highest and why is it that the PM can discipline the Mennonite but cannot deal with finnegan and boots martinez with all the crookedness there 2 have been a part of? racism stinks to high hell here.

  8. Guerra says:

    Not because of people like Chang, no PENNER is his own man, and a minister at that, if his greed for money wasn’t greater than his desire to serve the people, he wouldn’t be in the position he is today. I can’t see why he is still getting a salary, and for the PM to say the people are the ones to decide if he stays, is the same as saying we can’t see what is happening with all the rest of the ministers. Do think Penner was thinking about US WHEN HE IS DRIVING AROUND IN HIS TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND $$$ HUMMER…LOL…OR WHEN HE WAS COLLECTING THAT $250,000.00 US dollars for the pass port?…LOL .. What story do they give for all that money to the bank …or…they never ever use that facility?

  9. Concern says:

    Eric is already showing what he would and could do if he became a minister. He is a councilor, and already showing his direction! Are these the kind of people we want, or should we say THANK YOU INTERPOL for when we talk, its like nobody is talking, no action taken…zilch is the action…lol

  10. history minded says:

    I’m not sure of its authenticity but check this article out:
    http://fiwebelize.com/belize-immigration-smuggling-and-corruption/

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