A fire near ex-President Kim’s grave

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A fire near ex-President Kim’s grave

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2일 서울 국립현충원의 김대중 전 대통령 묘역 뒤편잔디가 원인을 알 수 없는 화재로 검게 탔다. [뉴시스]

A fire near former President Kim Dae-jung’s grave at the Seoul National Cemetery broke out yesterday morning, and police suspect it was the work of an arsonist.

According to the Seoul National Cemetery, around 6.6 square meters (71 square feet) of grass behind Kim’s grave was found burnt at 9:30 a.m. “We found around 10 pieces of paper this morning that included claims that the former president was a communist. Some were found near former president Park Chung Hee’s grave [around 300 meters away from the scene of the fire] at 8:25 a.m. and some were found near Chungyeodae [which holds the remains of some 200 patriots] at 8:55,” said an official at the cemetery, who patrolled around the former presidents’ graves after finding the papers. “There was no fire when I patrolled around 9:10, but a cleaner reported it 20 minutes later.”

The papers are reported to be written by a group that calls itself the “Conservative Christian Freedom Fighting Committee.”

Sources at the cemetery said that although closed-circuit televisions are installed on Kim’s grave, there is none on the hill where the fire broke out. Seoul’s Dongjak Police Precinct said it is using other CCTV footage to investigate whether members of the group were at the scene.

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“Because a portion of the crime scene was damaged, it will be hard to identify evidence,” said a police official.

Kim’s widow, Lee Hee-ho, visited his grave at around 11:40 yesterday morning and looked around the scene of the fire, according cemetery officials. Lee Kye-ahn, the Democratic Party candidate for mayor of Seoul, who visited Kim’s grave yesterday morning after registering his candidacy, said, “It is highly possible that someone dodged the CCTV and set fire to the cemetery.”

The Seoul National Cemetery said it will create measures to prevent a reoccurrence of such a fire in the future.


By Park Sung-woo [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

비방 유인물 나와 순찰 중 발견, 묘 뒤편 언덕 잔디 6.6㎡ 불타



서울 동작동 국립현충원의 고 김대중 전 대통령 묘역에서 방화범의 소행으로 의심되는 화재가 발생해 경찰이 수사에 나섰다.

국립현충원은 2일 오전 9시30분쯤 김 전 대통령 묘역 뒤편 언덕의 잔디 6.6㎡(2평) 정도가 불에 탄 것을 발견했다고 밝혔다. 현충원 관계자는 “이날 오전 8시25분쯤 박정희 전 대통령 묘역 옆 정자에서, 8시55분쯤에는 충렬대 인근에서 김 전 대통령을 공산주의자로 표현한 유인물 10여 장이 발견돼 9시10분에 전직 대통령 묘역들을 순찰했다”고 설명했다.

그는 “당시에는 아무 이상이 없었으나 9시30분에 청소직원이 화재 사실을 알려왔다”고 덧붙였다. 김 전 대통령을 비난하는 유인물은 ‘보수기독인 자유수호협의회’ 명의로 돼 있는 것으로 알려졌다.

현충원 측은 “김 전 대통령 묘역 자체에는 고정식 폐쇄회로TV(CCTV)가 설치돼 있으나 불이 난 묘역 뒤편 언덕은 CCTV에 포착되지 않아 정확한 화재 원인은 파악하지 못했다”고 전했다. 이날 오전 서울시장 예비후보 등록을 마치고 김 전 대통령 묘역에 들렀다 현장을 목격한 민주당 이계안 예비후보는 “누군가 CCTV를 피해 불을 지른 뒤 묘역 전체로 퍼져나가길 바랐을 가능성이 크다”고 주장했다. 김 전 대통령의 부인 이희호 여사도 이날 오전 11시40분쯤 묘역을 찾아 화재현장을 둘러봤다.

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