Coast Guard chief, eight others, offer to resign over murder scandal
“As of this hour, I am resigning from the position as commissioner general of Korea Coast Guard,” Jeong said in a video conference call with the heads of Coast Guard branches nationwide on Friday.
“After much deliberation in the face of the recent crisis facing our organization, we have come to the conclusion that the only answer is to form a new leadership in the Coast Guard to overcome the crisis.”
Also offering to resign were eight officials of the second and third rank in the Coast Guard. In the 11-rank system of the Coast Guard, the highest is commissioner general, followed by chief superintendent generals and senior superintendent generals.
The resignations follow a public apology made by the Defense Ministry and Coast Guard last week, in which they admitted that there was no evidence that the Korean fisheries official, Lee Dae-jun, was trying to defect to the North when he was shot dead in the Yellow Sea by the North Korean military on Sept. 22, 2020.
At the time, military authorities under the Moon Jae-in administration said Lee had been killed in the process of "voluntarily" attempting to defect to North Korea to escape a gambling debt. It said that the North Koreans seemed to have killed him out of fear of Covid-19 infection.
In retracting those assertions last week, the Coast Guard did not release information that could explain the circumstances of Lee's death. Many of the pertinent documents were designated presidential records, which are sealed for 15 years.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]