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Prosecution demands arrest of ex-Coast Guard chief in Sewol probe

All News 12:15 January 06, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- State prosecutors said Monday they have requested a court formally detain a former Korea Coast Guard chief for alleged mishandling of one of the country's worst maritime disasters, in which more than 300 people died.

A special unit tasked with the probe said it has requested the arrest of Kim Suk-kyoon, former Korea Coast Guard chief, as well as five other key officials, including those who supervised the western coastal unit and the southwestern port city of Mokpo, according to the prosecution.

State prosecutors said the six incumbent and former officials have been charged with mishandling the rescue operations during the 2014 Sewol disaster, leading to the deaths of 303 passengers and injuries to 142 others.

The ferry Sewol, whose sinking caused the deaths of over 300 people, stands on a port in the southwestern city of Mokpo on Dec. 11, 2019. (Yonhap)

It is the latest move in a widening probe by the special investigative unit, launched in November. The unit has been investigating the exact cause of the fatal disaster and probing any mishandling of the rescue operations by the former conservative administration.

More than five years have passed since the tragedy, but many people still believe the truth behind it and the government's search-and-rescue operations and other responses at that time has yet to come to light.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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