Korean ‘comfort women’ groups accused of embezzling donations for victims
A second support group for South Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II is being investigated over claims that senior officials have embezzled millions in donations that were meant for the women. A manager and six staff at the House of Sharing - a shelter for the dwindling number of former sex workers euphemistically known as “comfort women” - have claimed that around $5 million in donations has been siphoned off for unrelated projects and that the residents of the facility do not receive the care that they require. The accusations come just days after the other major support organisation for former comfort women was similarly accused of embezzling donations. Those allegations have lead to demands for an official investigation into Yoon Mee-hyang, a former head of the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. Ms Yoon was elected as a member of the ruling Liberal Party to the South Korean parliament in last month’s elections, but opposition parties are now claiming that the organisation and Ms Yoon personally exploited surviving comfort women and embezzled donations. Korean media have reported that Ms Yoon is suspected of pocketing donations and government subsidies and using those funds for her own purposes. One outlay that has attracted attention was the payment of more than £22,000 to a bar for an event allegedly to promote the council’s work. The operator of the bar has stated, however, that the cost of the event was only £6,440 and that it returned more than £3,500 as a donation.
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