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S. Korean Pols Are Miffed. They're Revving Up the Razors

It's a protest against newly appointed justice minister hit with corruption allegations
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2019 11:09 AM CDT
Hwang Kyo-ahn has his head shaved in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – Some people take to the streets with placards and T-shirts to protest. In South Korea, they shave their heads. Conservative opposition leader Hwang Kyo-ahn is the latest big name to go bald, allowing himself to be shorn Monday evening outside the presidential palace to demonstrate against the newly appointed justice minister, Cho Kuk, whose family is mired in corruption allegations, the BBC reports. "This is my warning to President Moon Jae-in: Do not go against the will of the people any further," Hwang said, per Fox News. "This is my ultimatum to Cho Kuk: Step down voluntarily from your post and receive an investigation from prosecutors."

Two female politicians also shaved their locks last week to push back on the appointment of Cho, whose family has been accused of both academic fraud—his wife allegedly forged documents to help their daughter get into college—and financial crimes. The head-shaving is apparently a longtime South Korean tradition that stretches all the way back to the teachings of Confucius and which was used often in the '60s and '70s when the country was under military rule. An odd side note to Hwang's act of defiance: After his hair fell to the floor, some started noting he resembled actor Gary Oldman, earning him the nickname "Kimchi Oldman" on social media. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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