SEOUL: A South Korean fishing officer killed by North Korean soldiers at sea last week showed readiness to show fault to soldiers, the South Korean Coastguard said on Tuesday (September 29).
His older brother denied the government’s initial claim that he had tried to flee the north, sparking controversy over the officer’s death.
The Coast Guard said it had determined after an investigation based on CCTV footage, military intelligence and background records that the officer told North Korean soldiers he wanted to show defects and that he was aware of their detailed personal information.
Read: Seoul says North Korea ‘very sorry’ for killing South Korean official at sea
“We have confirmed that the North had secured his personal information, including his name, age, country of origin and height, and that the missing person had indicated his readiness to go north,” said Eun Sung-hyun. Head of Investigation and Intelligence at the Guard.
Yoon said it was very unlikely he lost his leg or tried to take his own life because he was found about 38km away when he was wearing a life vest and flotation device.
The man’s brother, Lee Rai-jin, said he must have had an accident because he had just got a new boat and there was no reason for the defect.
Yoon said the officer owed more than million 58 million in debt, but it was unclear whether he wanted to flee.
Read: South Korea asks North Korea to investigate fatal shooting of a South Korean official
Pyongyang said troops burned only one flotation device in an attempt to eliminate the risk of the novel’s coronavirus outbreak, after which the Coastguard and Navy stepped up their search for the bodies of dozens of ships.
South Korea has accused the North of fueling his body and setting it on fire after killing the man, calling for a joint investigation.
Pyongyang has remained silent on the joint investigation until Tuesday but has apologized to leader Kim Jong Un. State media said the North was exploring the man’s body on its own but warned of increasing tension by penetrating its waters in the South.
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