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Ex-nat'l security adviser quizzed in N. Korean fishermen repatriation probe

National 10:45 January 31, 2023

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors questioned a former national security adviser Tuesday as part of an investigation into allegations that the previous Moon Jae-in government repatriated two North Korean fishermen against their will.

Chung Eui-young, who also served as foreign minister, was among 11 former officials that an organization monitoring North Korea's human rights accused of involvement in the fishermen's 2019 deportation despite their wishes to defect to South Korea.

In November 2019, the government sent back the fishermen captured near the eastern inter-Korean sea border. The two confessed to killing 16 fellow crew members and expressed a desire to defect, but authorities dismissed their intentions as insincere.

The investigation into a North Korean defector usually takes between 15 days and one month, but the probe at the time only took around three to four days, stoking suspicion that the Seoul government tried to repatriate the defectors in an effort to curry favor with Pyongyang.

Earlier, Seoul's spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, also filed a complaint with the prosecution against its former chief, Suh Hoon, on allegations that he had ordered an early end to an internal investigation into the case.

Chung Eui-yong (Yonhap)

Chung Eui-yong (Yonhap)


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