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South Korean court issues arrest warrants for former security leaders

South Korean court issues arrest warrants for former security leaders including defence minister over their ‘manhandling’ of official killed by North Korean troops

  • Several arrest warrants have been issued in South Korea for security leaders
  • An investigation has been underway into the final moments of Lee Dae-jin’s life 
  • Prosecutors say authorities failed in the duty to seek help when he was stranded 
  • Lee was kept in water for nearly six hours after he was found by North Koreans 

Several arrest warrants have been issued in South Korea for a former defence minister and a former coast guard chief over their alleged mishandling of the death of a state fishery employee.

An investigation has been underway into the final moments of Lee Dae-jin’s life, before he was killed by North Korean troops two years ago.   

The decision to issue the warrants, ordered by the Seoul Central District Court, was due to the risk of them fleeing or destroying evidence.

The latest documents from the parliamentary investigation revealed Lee was kept in water for nearly six hours as he drifted in and out of consciousness after he was found by North Koreans.

An investigation has been underway into the final moments of Lee Dae-jin’s life, before he was killed by North Korean troops two years ago (stock image)

These documents allege the coast guard and navy violated rules during their initial rescue efforts by failing to seek help from other vessels and authorities nearby.

Both officials face charges that include dereliction of duty, abuse of power, forging official documents, and covering up and distorting facts in the case.

Lee’s death has become a sensitive issue in South Korea, in part because of the fight by his brother to clear his name. 

The previous administration of President Moon Jae-in portrayed his death as a failed defection attempt.

They said he attempted to defect due to his gambling debts, mental health issues and an unhappy life.

Meanwhile, state auditor the Board of Audit and Inspection last week said it had also requested prosecutors investigate 20 officials from five agencies, including a former national security advisor and a former national intelligence service chief of the previous government, in relation to the case.

The previous administration of President Moon Jae-in portrayed his death as a failed defection attempt

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