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Students demand truth about classmate who killed himself in army

Students at a press conference held at Hongik university on Monday (Yonhap)
Students at a press conference held at Hongik university on Monday (Yonhap)

Following a conscript’s suicide last week, his classmates and professors demanded the Korean military disclose the facts behind the tragic death.

At a press conference held Monday, Hongik university students and professors said, “Our classmate Ko Pil-ju, a student at Hongik university’s department of Korean language and literature, committed suicide due to physical and verbal abuse from his senior conscripts. The Republic of Korea army should reveal abusive practices prevalent in the military and punish those responsible (for the suicide).”

Students and professors at the university’s Korean literature department, also said, “If a good student like Ko had trouble adapting to military life, it cannot be considered as an unfortunate incident of a misfit.”

They pointed out that the system-wide abuse should be held accountable for the suicide.

“We cannot understand how the commanders gave the cold shoulder when Ko reached out for help as a last resort,” the students claimed.

The Center for Miltary Human Rights first revealed the incident when Ko, a private first class from the 22nd Infantry Division, jumped to his death from the Armed Forces Capital Hospital last Wednesday.

Making public the minutes from a meeting held by military officials over the incident, the center said, “The army is trying to evade the truth and conceal the incident from the media.”

The army officials said Monday that the allegations of a cover-up were groundless, and a proper investigation and punishment regarding the incident would follow.

By Kim Min-joo/ Intern reporter (