Choi Soo-bong, a professor at Konkuk University’s Graduate School of Medicine who developed an insulin pump, has come under fire for “gapjil,” abusing his power against employees of his company.
Choi is the founder and CEO of Sooil Development Company, which manufactures insulin pumps used for diabetic patients. The company has about 100 employees with 10 billion won ($8.9 million) annual sales.
According to a former employee, Choi has often cursed against workers for years. The informant sent media outlets a photo and a video clip of several Sooil workers coerced to lift a wooden pole above the shoulders during a meeting in 2015.
|Photos sent from a former employee of Sooil Development Company show the company’s CEO Choi Soo-bong (above, left) orders employees to lift a wooden pole during a meeting in 2015.|
“He used to force such act in almost all meetings. He had once struck the heads of employees with frying pans,” the former employee told Korea Biomedical Review over the phone. “One of the workers took an issue with the insufficient meeting, and Choi told him to get out. The employee was immediately fired.”
The ex-worker claimed that Choi also made belittling comments on pediatric patients with type-1 diabetes and their guardians, adding that he had the recording of Choi’s voice.
Sooil denied all the allegations of the former employee, releasing a statement on its homepage on Thursday.
The company said it was checking facts about the former employee after it found some circumstances of embezzlement of the company’s money. “After the salesperson found about it, he threatened the company to reveal the files that he has kept to the media and patients,” the company said.
The former employee had demanded the company keep his position, double his salary and give him 500 million won ($447,120) in cash, in return for being quiet about issues around Choi, Sooil said.
“The former employee has been maliciously planning for intimidation and defamation after illegally obtaining company data over several years. This is a clear criminal act,” the company said.
The company dismissed the salesperson as of Monday and pressed criminal charges against him.
Choi held a news conference and apologized for what happened.
“I am to blame for all the news reports about me. I sincerely apologize to those who have been hurt by my words and actions. I'm really sorry. I deeply apologize to all people and employees who have contributed to Sooil Development Company,” he said.