FTC to strengthen crackdown on irregularities affecting people

South Korea's antitrust regulator will bolster efforts to remove deep-rooted irregularities affecting the daily lives of the people in a wide array of areas, from construction to education, its chairperson said Thursday.

"We are conducting a thorough investigation to uncover bid-rigging in the selection process of supervisory firms responsible for monitoring the potential defects, such as the omission of reinforcing rods in the construction of apartment buildings," said Han Ki-jeong, the chairperson of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

The remarks came after the land ministry recently found out that 15 apartment complexes constructed by the state-run Korea Land & Housing Corp. did not use sufficient reinforcing rods in their underground parking lots.

The discovery came after two upper structures of an underground parking lot under construction in Geomdan in the western city of Incheon collapsed in April due to such defects.

"We plan to conclude the investigation (on the apartment buildings) by the end of this year and carry out follow-up inspections," he added.

Han added that the FTC is also currently looking into cram schools for their misleading advertising related to their performances, such as the number of students admitted to universities.

"We have established a task force team to carry out the probe on misleading advertisements as requested by the education ministry. It will be completed within September," the chairperson added.

The FTC is closely monitoring possible violations by online commerce, mobility and accommodation companies as well, which will be completed by the end of this year.

These violations include posting fabricated reviews to place their private brands at the top of search results and releasing misleading advertisements about the advantages of memberships.

Han added that the FTC plans to expand surveillance on internal trading of medium-sized firms with a strong presence in the pharmaceutical, clothing and food industries amid concerns the current system lacks monitoring of such activities.

"The FTC will closely monitor internal trading of medium-sized business groups, and promptly investigate and take corrective measures in cases of law violations," Han said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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