Apparently, there are still a few things in this world that we can take for granted: Earth rotates around the Sun, warm apple pie tastes better with vanilla ice-cream on top, and Kang Ho-Dong is not a crook (at least, in the eyes of Korea’s National Tax Service). On Wednesday, the National Tax Service has finally given birth to a clarification statement: as Seoulbeats had predicted in our previous analysis, the much-hyped figure of $700K that Kang Ho-Dong owes in taxes, fees and penalties, accounted for 3 audited years (2007 to 2009). Moreover, it was officially declared that Kang Ho-Dong was not charged with tax evasion, and that the amount was the result of “mis-characterization” of expenses by his accountant (read tax authorities did not like some of his claimed write-offs). Queue in tax officials and prosecutors singing Kumbaya.

Except, why do I have this nagging feeling that this “clarification” was a week too late? Could Kang Ho-Dong have been spared merciless publicity and netizen lynch mob? We might never know.  What would be important is to continue to press the case presented by Korea’s National Taxpayers’ Union: why confidential information about the tax audit was leaked and who is behind the leak.

Will Kang Ho-Dong receive public apology from the National Tax Service for the leak and for this delayed explanation of the issue? I wouldn’t hold my breath for it. However, methinks Kang Ho-Dong’s fans will serve their beloved MC much better by rallying behind the Taxpayers’ Union’s demand for investigation and lobbying the National Tax Service for an apology, rather than musing over pointless online petitions against Kang Ho-Dong’s retirement (seriously, folks, there is only so much of “Oppa! Hwaiting!” that any human can take). Come on, guys and gals, show the man some respect: let him reflect on things, rest and make his own choices.

As I stated before, I am not a fan of Kang Ho-Dong.  Nothing against the man, his style is just not my cup of tea. Kang Ho-Dong, however, deserves respect as someone who worked very hard and long to achieve what he has. Seeing him dragged through the mud because of false rumors and netizen envy and pettiness is vexing, to say the least. Especially when most of those netizens are the same voices that sang praise to him as “Nation’s MC” only several weeks ago.

In conclusion, I will shamelessly use this space to settle a petty issue: several blogs and forums (who shall remain unnamed) had voiced their shock and awe at how disrespectful we were to the douche cutely named “Businessman Citizen A”. As a reminder, this excellent specimen was later identified as Citizen Jung (my, what a rare last name in Korea), who in his fiery complaint requested criminal investigation of Kang Ho-Dong. I stand by my previous viewpoint (and no offense to all other Jungs) – especially, since we have Korea’s National Tax Service and Seoul’s Public Prosecutor’s Office statements to back us up. If Citizen Jung (who could very well be a lady) has some beef with me over my opinion, he (or she)  is free to file his grievance with a place he’s quite familiar with – yes, you guessed it, Seoul’s Public Prosecutor’s office. I will even make a deal with a Mr. Jung and Seoulbeats readers – I will backtrack my statement if Mr. Jung shows up for a court hearing with me in Seoul, reveals his true identity and proves in court why he is not the aforementioned device. In return, I promise to distribute 100 free T-shirts inscribed “Mr. Jung is Not a Douche” at Gwanghwamun Square shortly after the hearing (first come first serve basis, folks, sorry, no pre-orders). And then, in an act of ultimate one-finger salute so aptly suggested by one of Seoulbeats readers, I will write off the entire trip (t-shirts included) as an expense on my taxes.

(Chosun Ilbo, Newsen, SportsChosun)