SEOUL On second thought, maybe it was not a good idea to give an award for drinking to local government officials.
The South Korean county of Koesan has decided it will discontinue giving out its "Drinking Culture Prize" after being flooded with complaints that the award promotes drunkenness among municipal employees and encouraged binge drinking.
A county official said Wednesday the public misunderstood the intention of the award, which was meant to recognize government workers who go out to local restaurants and bars to meet citizens and hear what they have to say.
"I guess it was our mistake that the purpose was misinterpreted," said the official, who asked not to be named.
The prize, which included round-trip tickets to the resort island of Cheju, was given out for the first time earlier this month to three municipal workers.
Local media reported one winner had his driver's license revoked in 2005 for drunk driving.
Koesan, located about 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Seoul, will continue to distinguish its government officials who work with the community, "but without the drinking component," the official said.