By Park Si-soo
Popular actor Kwon Sang-woo, 34, was slapped with a 7 million won ($5,890) fine by a Seoul district court for a hit-and-run.
The penalty was 2 million won higher than the fine sought by the prosecution. It’s rare for the court to hand down a verdict harsher than the prosecution’s recommendation.
“Given that Kwon is a public figure wielding great influence in society, it seems that the presiding judge deemed the punishment sought by the prosecution was too light,” said a spokesman for the Seoul Central District Court, Thursday.
The accident drew public outcry for the “special treatment” of the actor by the police. Those charged with hit-and-runs are supposed to be detained during police questioning and the trial. But this was not the case for the actor.
After plowing into two cars on June 12, he fled the scene and turned himself in at a police station two days after the accident. Police suspected he had driven under the influence of alcohol, but were unable to prove it due to his belated presence. No measures were taken to question him earlier.
According to witnesses, after hitting a car parked in an alley on the morning of the day, Kwon kept driving to escape the situation but soon rammed into another vehicle, this time a patrol car.
He drove for a further 300 meters, ignoring orders from the police to stop, then hit a tree in a nearby parking lot. At this point, he left his car and ran off, police said. Kwon denied being inebriated and reportedly testified during questioning: “I didn't drink alcohol at that time.”