By Kim Rahn
Actor Choi Su-jong has been added to the list of fake diploma scandal involving well-known figures in the art and culture field.
It has been known through his profile that Choi, 45, graduated from International Economics and Law Department at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), which was not true.
Choi's management agency Softland said Wednesday that he passed the entrance exam for the university in 1981 but did not enroll due to poverty. Choi went to the U.S. and attended at Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan, Colorado, for about one year, but had to return to Korea without finishing the course when his father died.
``When he debuted, one of Choi's relatives worked for him as a manager and put Choi's school career as HUFS graduation on the profile without properly checking. His academic career has been known so since then,'' the management firm said in a press release.
It also said each portal site provided different information about his school career, and it was Choi's and the agency's fault for not correcting them.
``Choi has never enjoyed benefits from being a HUFS graduate, and he has never himself said that he graduated from the school,'' the agency said.
The university said it could not confirm whether he passed the school exam in 1981 as no enrollment documents of that year remain. Colleges keep enrollment documents for four years according to the law.
The school selected Choi as a winner for the HUFS people in the broadcast industry together with singer Yoo Yeol and KBS announcer Shin Yoon-joo in 2000, but Choi refused to accept it. The university also proposed it would give Choi an honorary diploma at the school's 50th anniversary in 2004, which he also refused, according to HUFS.
In the meantime, Dongguk University has decided to examine the academic and work careers of all of its 818 professors and lecturers, following the fake diploma case of its former assistant professor Shin Jeong-ah.
``We'll inspect all teachers' careers and set up an inspection system to prevent such cases as Shin's from reoccurring. We agreed that we have to prevent people not equipped with proper academic certificates from being hired without verification,'' a member of the school's board of directors said.