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Police chief quits over failed Sewol probe

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Published : 2014-08-05 18:36
Updated : 2014-08-05 21:08

National Police Commissioner General Lee Sung-han offered to resign Tuesday, hours after President Park Geun-hye slammed law enforcement agencies over the botched manhunt for Yoo Byung-eun.

At Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Park criticized the prosecution and the police, saying that the failed hunt for Yoo had badly undermined public confidence in her administration.

Yoo was the owner of the doomed Sewol ferry that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Yoo was found dead on June 12 in a plum field in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province.

Police chief Lee Sung-han (Yonhap)


Things that could be associated with Yoo were found near the body, but police and prosecutors overlooked them and did not identify Yoo’s body until July 21 when DNA tests confirmed the corpse as Yoo.

During the period, police and prosecutors continued their manhunt for Yoo without knowing that Yoo had already died.

“The bungled manhunt resulted in the waste of national resources and severely undermined public confidence in the government,” Park said in the Cabinet meeting.

Park added that those responsible for April’s deadly ferry sinking must be held accountable, without elaborating.

She also said that the recent parliamentary by-elections sent a strong message that the political community should speak for the people and solve their problems.

She called on government officials to place top priority on reviving the economy and remodeling South Korea from square one.

Park’s ruling Saenuri Party secured 11 out of the 15 parliamentary seats at stake last month. The resounding victory cemented the party’s majority in the National Assembly and could give a much-needed boost to Park, who has vowed to push through her reform agenda following April’s deadly ferry disaster.

By Choi He-suk and news reports
cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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