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Air Force chief retires after resigning over death of sexually abused soldier

All News 15:27 June 10, 2021

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in approved the retirement of South Korea's Air Force chief Thursday, a week after he offered to resign over the suicide of a female service member sexually assaulted by her male colleague.

Moon was quick in accepting the resignation of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Seong-yong but waited until the end of an inquiry into whether he is involved in any wrongdoing subject to legal punishment to approve his retirement.

A review by such organizations as the state prosecution service and the Board of Audit and Inspection has confirmed that "There is no procedural problem" with the retirement, Park Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for public communication, said during a press briefing.

He added that there is no suspicion over his possible involvement in an attempt to cover up the sex assault case.

President Moon Jae-in pays tribute to a late female Air Force noncommissioned officer at a funeral home of the Armed Forces Capital Hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on June 6, 2021, in this photo provided by Cheong Wa Dae. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The victim, a master sergeant, was found dead at her official residence in late May, about three months after suffering unwanted physical touching by a male colleague of the same rank in a car at night. Some of her senior officers allegedly tried to cover up the case and the victim was even reportedly bullied.

Meanwhile, the president appointed Song Ki-choon, professor at the law school of Jeonbuk National University, to lead the Presidential Truth Commission on Death in the Military.

Yoon Sung-wook, who is in charge of economic coordination at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, has been promoted to the post of vice chief of the office.


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