Reuters - After a judge handed down a 30-month sentence for bribery and other charges, Samsung Electronics vice chairperson Jay Y. Lee is returning to the same prison where he spent a year between 2017 and 2018.
Lee, 52, was convicted of bribing an associate of former President Park Geun-hye and jailed for five years in 2017. He denied wrongdoing, the sentence was reduced and suspended on appeal and he was released after serving a year.
The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the Seoul High Court. Prosecutors called for a nine-year jail term.
Lee is involved in a separate trial for accounting fraud and stock manipulation.
For many South Koreans, it is not just Lee who will be in the dock Monday but the whole chaebol system of family-run conglomerates, long credited with building Asia's fourth-largest economy but criticized for wielding too much power and lapses in governance and compliance.
The imprisonment of the leader of the international technology company comes with the added challenge of ensuring safety after an outbreak of more than 1,000 coronavirus infections at another detention center.
Lee is likely to be transported to Seoul Detention Center on the outskirts of the capital. Once he arrives, he will be checked for a coronavirus infection with a rapid antigen test, a Seoul Detention Centre official told Reuters - a process that doesn't require a lab and can be done in 30 minutes.
If the initial test is negative, he will be sent to a solitary room for isolation for three weeks. If it is positive, he will be moved to a treatment center.
The solitary room is expected to be 5 square meters, the most common size, with a toilet in the corner behind a partition, a washstand and a mattress on the floor. Lee will receive another coronavirus test after the three-week isolation is over, the official said.
The Seoul Detention Center, which has about 700 employees and 2,400 inmates, has only seen one employee and four inmates infected since the coronavirus pandemic hit South Korea last year, the official said.
However, the country's Ministry of Justice has been criticized for mismanaging COVID-19 infections among inmates, as 1,257 coronavirus cases have been connected to prisons nationwide as of Monday, according to Central Disease Control Headquarters.
The ministry has recently released 900 inmates on parole to free up space in the prisons.
Lee was held in Seoul Detention Center when he was convicted of bribing an associate of former President Park Geun-hye and sentenced to five years in 2017. He was freed in 2018 after the sentence was reduced and suspended on appeal.
South Korea had reported 389 new coronavirus cases as of Sunday, bringing the country's tally to 72,729 infections, with 1,264 deaths.