Ex-Coast Guard chief released, 20 days after arrest in fisheries official death case

SEOUL– A Seoul court approved Friday the release of former Coast Guard Commissioner General Kim Hong-hee, 20 days after he was arrested in connection with the 2020 death of a fisheries official at the hands of North Korea.

The Seoul Central District Court approved Kim’s discharge on the condition that he pays 100 million won (US$75,884) in deposit, does not leave his designated residence or come in contact with other people related with the case.

The case centers on allegations that the previous Moon Jae-in administration concluded without sufficient evidence that the fisheries official was fatally shot by North Korea’s military while attempting to defect to the North.

Kim, who headed the Coast Guard at the time of the death, was accused of manipulating evidence to reach the conclusion that the fisheries official voluntarily attempted to defect to the North.

Charges against him are abuse of authority, falsification of official documents and defamation against the late fisheries official.

Prosecutors are expected to indict Kim next week, along with ex-Defense Minister Suh Wook, who is facing suspicions that he ordered the deletion of intelligence reports contradicting the government announcement.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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