Page Nav

HIDE

Gradient Skin

Gradient_Skin

Responsive Ad

S. Korea claims there is no evidence of a defection from an official killed by North Korea

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  South Korea's maritime and military authorities said on Thursday that there was no proof that the So...


Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  South Korea's maritime and military authorities said on Thursday that there was no proof that the South Korean fisheries official who was shot and burned by North Korean troops in 2020 intended to defect.

Lee Dae-jun, a government official, went missing at sea while serving as a fishery inspector in September 2020. Later, North Korean authorities shot him and burned his body on fire, shocking many South Koreans and raising cross-border tensions.

Lee looked to have attempted to defect to the North, according to South Korea's coast guard and military at the time, citing intelligence sources and his gambling debt. Lee's family, on the other hand, rejected the assertion and filed a lawsuit demanding that government data be made public.

On Thursday, the authorities altered their earlier statement, saying that a re-investigation found no such proof.

"We couldn't discover any evidence that he tried to breach the border into the north," Park Sang-choon, a coast guard official, said at a press conference.

An official from the Ministry of Defense, Yoon Hyung-jin, apologised for "creating uncertainty" by making an assumption-based remark.

"We could not verify the missing official voluntarily went to the North as a result of the reinvestigation," Yoon said at the same briefing. "However, I can clearly tell that there was proof that the North Korean military shot him dead and burned his body."

Hee-seok, Ethan Shin, a legal expert who works with Lee's family, said the family will suit again, this time for penalties against those who researched the matter and suspected Lee of defecting.

"It's a great development that the new government is finally trying... to address the vicious blame game against Lee Dae-jun," Shin told Reuters.

Before entering office in May, South Korea's new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, visited with Lee's family and offered to assist in the investigation.

Yoon's office said it has withdrawn the previous administration's appeal of a lower court order that enabled the release of some presidential and coast guard records.

Lee's assassination was justified by North Korea as a "self-defensive measure" to prevent a coronavirus spread, with leader Kim Jong Un issuing a rare apology days later.


Reponsive Ads