First Army Commander Gen. Shin Hyeon-don resigned Tuesday amid controversy over his “disorderly” behavior damaging to the military’s image in June, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The ministry said that on June 19, when the military was on heightened alert due to President Park Geun-hye’s overseas trip, Shin left Gangwon Province under his charge in breach of the military rules, and traveled to Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, for a security lecture at his alma mater, Cheongju High School.
After the lecture, he drank alcohol with school teachers and his friends. On his way back to his unit, he stopped by an expressway rest area to go to the bathroom. His “overprotective” aides got into a verbal clash with one citizen as they blocked him from entering the bathroom. At the time, an intoxicated Shin wearing military suits with a four-star general insignia looked untidy, officials said.
Following the announcement of Shin’s resignation, critics raised suspicion that the military once again tried to conceal the incident, as public sentiment toward it has been deteriorating due to a series of hazing and abuse cases at barracks.
Two days after Shin traveled to Cheongju for the lecture, a shooting spree by a frontline Army sergeant sent shockwaves across the country. The shooting incident that killed five soldiers could have made the Army reluctant to reveal the four-star commander’s inappropriate behavior, critics said.
By Song Sang-ho (email@example.com)