It appears South Korean politicians find boosting in League of Legends just as annoying as the rest of us. Our sister site, The Loadout, reports that a member of South Korea’s justice party has been called out for her gaming conduct six years ago.
The information comes from Ashley Kang, a Korean esports journalist, who linked to the Facebook of Democratic Party member Hwang Hwi-du. In it, he discusses a statement by the Justice Party’s Ryu Ho-jeong where she admits that she account shared and boosted to reach Diamond 1 from Gold 5. The public admittance and apology came only after accusations were levelled at her by the public.
According to Kang, Ho-jeong was previously the president of an esports club at Ewha Women’s University and is currently a candidate for the national assembly. In his Facebook post, Hwi-du said he is a pro gamer himself and hints that the conduct six years ago makes Ho-jeong untrustworthy. He also said the controversy is “comparable to using a proxy on a test and getting caught”.
League of Legends elo boosting is something Riot has cracked down on in the past, going so far as suspending seven pro players in North America. That politicians in Korea find it noteworthy enough to discredit a candidate points to the huge role esports have in South Korean society. You can spend up to two years in jail for account boosting there, just as you could be punished for doping in a sporting event.
Pro gaming tournaments are also broadcast to millions in the country, with three channels dedicated to the sport and a large, regular viewership. Its esports association is part of the Korean Olympic Committee, and League of Legends player Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok is considered one of the countries top celebrities.
With all that in mind, it makes sense that a politician would use this to gain favour with voters. If it’s like the west, anything can be used as ammunition, and a practice that’s now punishable by jail time is probably a good start.