Crime & Justice

Ex-South Korean officials indicted for deporting two from North

Seoul, Feb 28 (EFE).- South Korea has indicted four former officials, including two ministers, for alleged involvement in the controversial repatriation of two North Korean fishermen in 2019, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Former national security adviser and foreign minister Chung Eui-yong, former National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon, former Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul, and presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min are the four indicted officials.

According to Yonhap, the prosecutor’s office said the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office formally charged them without a pretrial detention order over charges including abuse of authority.

Suh allegedly wiped off official records of the two sailors desiring to stay and live in the South.

He also allegedly forged documents related to their interrogation by the authorities.

At the time of the controversial repatriation, Chung was the National Security Adviser before he became foreign minister in 2021.

The two North Korean fishermen arrived by sea in the South in November 2019. The South repatriated them just five days after their arrest.

They allegedly confessed that they murdered 16 other accomplices, fishing with them before fleeing North Korea.

South Korea requires any deserter to be investigated by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) on their arrival in the South for at least 15 days.

But the speed with which the fishermen were sent back to the neighboring country sparked harsh criticism of the former government of liberal Moon Jae-in.

The repatriation process was allegedly expedited not to anger the North Korean regime when the bilateral dialogue that began in 2018 was hitting a dead end. EFE


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