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Business, political leaders mourn Lotte founder

Feuding brothers of Lotte family meet again for first time in over a year

South Korea’s business figures and political leaders joined relatives on Monday to mourn the death of Lotte Group founder and Honorary Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho, a first-generation founder of one of the country’s biggest conglomerates.

Shin passed away at around 4:20 p.m. on Sunday, at the age of 97.

At the funeral altar at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, influential figures from various circles came to pay their respects.

On Monday, Shin’s second son, Shin Dong-bin, the chairman of Lotte Group arrived at the funeral hall and the eldest Shin Dong-joo, the chairman of SDJ Corporation and former vice chairman of Lotte Holdings in Japan greeted the mourners.

In 2015, the two brothers had engaged in a public battle over the control of the company and has since been at odds. The two was meeting again for the first time in one year and three months.

Many of the Lotte family members and executives visited the funeral altar Sunday to pay respect. Shin’s wife, Shigemitsu Hatsuko was present, and the late honorary chairman’s common-law wife Seo Mi-kyung also came to pay tribute.

Choi Eun-young, the former chairwoman of the now-defunct Hanjin Shipping came to the funeral on Monday morning. Choi is the eldest daughter of Shin Jung-sook, who is the late Shin Kyuk-ho’s younger sister.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was one of the first outside figures to visit the funeral hall, at around 9:37 a.m. on Monday. Lee stayed at the altar for about 10 minutes to pay respect.

CJ Group Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik came straight to the funeral after his business trip in Japan and expressed his condolences to the late honorary chairman.

“I admired (Shin). He was a legendary businessman and was the best senior in the business circle,” Sohn told reporters.

Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industries Chairman Park Yong-maan and Asan Institute for Policy Studies Chairman Han Sung-joo paid tribute Monday.

Condolence flowers were sent from President Moon Jae-in, National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, among others. Conglomerate heads, including Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Hanhwa Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon also sent condolence flowers.

Kim Sang-jo, Moon’s chief policy secretary, came to the funeral on behalf of the president to offer condolences, on Monday.

Former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and former National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyung-o expressed their appreciation for the late honorary chairman.

“I appreciate the patriotic contributions made by late honorary chairman Shin,” Kim told reporters.

According to Lotte Group, the funeral will be held for four days. Late Shin will be buried in his hometown of Ulsan.

By Jo He-rim (