Asia Pacific Global Corruption Barometer 2017
In its latest Asia Pacific edition of the Global Corruption Barometer, Transparency International conducted an extensive survey in 16 countries, regions and territories across the Asia Pacific, including South Korea with a sample of 1000 interviewees.
Between July 2015 and January 2017, a total of 21,861 people across the region were asked about their perceptions and experiences of corruption. The conclusion of the survey led to the estimate that over 900 million people in the 16 countries studied had paid a bribe over the last year while trying to access basic services. The survey results show a great diversity in corruption risks across the surveyed countries. The report also highlights the need for better whistleblower protection and efficient reporting mechanisms in general, and addresses several recommendations for Governments to address these challenges.
Perceptions of corruption and government action.
When asked if they thought the level of corruption in their country had changed over the last 12 months (whether it had increased, decreased, or stayed the same) the whole region averaged to a 40% thinking the level of corruption had increased. South Korea’s results were above this regional average with 50% thinking corruption in the country had increased. Across the region, nearly two in five said that they thought most or all police officers were corrupt, which was the highest of any group.
Amongst the 16 countries, South Korea is remarkably the country that most poorly rated its government’s actions to fight public sector corruption. An overwhelming 76% of Koreans perceived their government was doing badly in fighting corruption and stopping graft, way over the 50% regional average.
Experiences of corruption: Bribery
South Korea fares quite well compared to regional averages in terms of bribery rates: While over one in four people (28%) in the 16 places surveyed had paid a bribe in the last 12 months when using a public service, this rate was only of 3% in South Korea. The location where the highest percentage of these bribes had been paid in Korea was Courts.
Overall in the region, the survey found that young people aged under 35 are more likely to have to pay a bribe for a public service. It also found that similar proportions of both men and women have paid a bribe in the last 12 months. The income group most targeted by bribery was the poorest, as they might have fewer alternative options available to them, or less power or influence to avoid it (However, in some countries the reverse trend was found, where it was the richest people who were more likely to pay)
People speaking out about corruption
When asked if ordinary citizens can make a difference in the fight against corruption, a majority of citizens across the Asia-Pacific region agreed that they felt empowered (63 percent), and South Koreans agreed by 66%. Regarding the actions that could be taken, reporting corruption came out as the best way to tackle the issue followed by refusing to pay bribes. Overall, the main reason people gave for not reporting corruption was the fear of consequences.
Read more details on this report here.
Summary by: Lina Hadboun