S. Koreans believe politicians most corrupt: poll

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans think the political circle is the most corrupt group in the country, a poll showed Tuesday.

According to the survey of 1,500 South Koreans by Transparency International, a Berlin-based watchdog group, political parties and the parliament received the highest corruption scores of 3.9 and 3.8, respectively, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 meaning "extremely corrupt."

Religious bodies ranked third at 3.4, followed by officialdom with 3.3. The judiciary, the police, private firms and media firms came next at 3.2 with non-profit organizations seen as the least corrupt with a score of 2.8.

Thirty-nine percent of those polled said the level of corruption in the country has worsened in the past two years, while 47 percent responded it has remained the same. However, the majority of the respondents, or 56 percent, are confident that ordinary people could make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Less than 5 percent of South Koreans reported having paid bribes in the past year, compared with the global average of 25 percent. Six percent said they or their family have bribed educational institutions in the past 12 months, with other bribe-takers being the police, and registry and permit services, according to the findings.

The survey, conducted from September 2012 to March 2013, is part of the annual Global Corruption Barometer by Transparency International, the world's largest poll on the subject covering 114,000 people in 107 countries.

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