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South Korean officials to be arrested for killing by North Korea in 2020 | News

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Former Defense Minister Suh Wook and former Coast Guard chief Kim Hong-hee are accused of covering up the killing of a fishing official by North Korean border soldiers.

An arrest warrant has been issued for South Korea’s former defense minister and chief of the coast guard for alleged involvement in a cover-up involving North Korea’s 2020 killing of a South Korean fisheries official.

The Seoul Central District Court on Saturday issued arrest warrants for former Defense Minister Suh Wook and former Coast Guard Commissioner Kim Hong-hee, citing the risks of suspects fleeing or destroying evidence.

Last week, South Korea’s Board of Inspection and Inspection, South Korea’s investigative agency, asked prosecutors to investigate a total of 20 people, including Suh and Kim, for allegedly covering up key facts about the killing of 47-year-old fisheries official Lee in 2020. Dae-jun by North Korean border soldiers.

The agency said its investigation into a previous government’s handling of the murder revealed that authorities made no meaningful attempt to rescue Lee after learning that he had drifted in waters near the North Korean border.

The investigation revealed that Lee was in the water for about six hours and was dragged in and out of consciousness after being found and shot by the North Koreans.

The South Korean coast guard and navy were also found to have violated the rules during initial rescue efforts by not seeking help from other ships and officials near Lee’s location.

After confirming that Lee was shot dead by North Korean troops, officials in President Moon Jae-in’s previous administration made public the possibility that the victim was trying to defect to North Korea.

The agency said authorities withheld evidence that the murdered man played gambling debts and other family matters, and also had no intention of defecting to North Korea.

The murder took place at a time when Moon was facing intense political pressure due to renewed pressure to engage with Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also apologized after the South Korean’s killing. In an official letter to Seoul, North Korea conveyed the message that Kim felt “very sorry” that South Korea had “disappointed” then-President Moon.

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According to the investigation report, Suh instructed an official at Moon’s administration of the national security office to delete about 60 military intelligence reports on the incident because the government delayed the public disclosure of Lee’s death while discussing public disclosure. .

The agency also said that the coast guard under Kim manipulated the results of the drift simulations to support the claim that Lee tried to escape.

Suh and Kim did not answer journalists’ questions about the allegations on Friday, as they appear in court hours apart to review the prosecution’s requests for orders.

The opposition liberal Democratic Party did not immediately comment on the arrests, claiming that the investigations were led by President Yoon Suk-yeol’s political vendetta against his predecessor, Moon Jae-in.

Yoon’s government is also investigating the 2019 forced return of two North Korean fishermen, although they have been reported to want to resettle in South Korea.

Critics say the Moon government has never given a clear explanation as to why it sent the two fugitives back to North Korea to face possible execution.

Dozens of international organizations, including Human Rights Watch, issued a joint statement accusing Moon’s government of failing to provide due process and “protecting those who, after repatriation, would be at risk of serious torture or other serious human rights violations.”

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