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Poll: How do you feel about the Samsung heir's arrest?

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February 17th, 2017

Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong Arrives At Court Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

How do you feel about the latest debacle plaguing Samsung: yesterday's arrest of Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong on bribery charges?

Were you temped to create a hashtag and campaign against the company on Twitter in the spirit of #DeleteUber? Or maybe you felt a palpable sense of betrayal like you did seeing Tim Cook sit down with President-elect Trump for a photo op?

I'd hazard to guess that you probably felt nothing. The Samsung Group is so vast, so opaque, and so unknowable that it's impossible to feel anything.

Although the Lee family that controls the Samsung Group is said by Forbes to have a combined wealth of US$29.6 billion, they're not exactly the rockstar-CEOs we're used to seeing on stage in the US. Sure, everyone knows the Lee family in Korea, but I'll bet most of you wouldn't recognize them by face or even by name (Lee Jae-yong goes by Jay Y. Lee in the West).

South Korea's so-called "chaebol" system of support for conglomerates is rife with corruption. The heads of Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, and Hanwha have all been convicted of crimes only to be pardoned by Korean presidents. Yesterday's arrest of Lee Jae-yong is just another example of the misconduct the system breeds, sometimes dismissed as the price of doing business in Korea. Remember, Lee's own father, Lee Kun-hee, had been convicted and later pardoned twice for similar crimes committed while running Samsung.

It matters to me, and I voice my opinion through my voting dollars every time I buy a phone, a clothes dryer, or TV. But how about you, dear reader. Do you care?