NATIONAL

[Newsmaker] Whistleblower admitted to hospital over signs of planning suicide

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Jan 3, 2019 - 17:06
  • Updated : Jan 3, 2019 - 17:20

The former official at the Ministry of Economy and Finance who accuses the Moon Jae-in administration of manipulating the issuance of treasury bonds for political reasons was found alive after going missing and admitted to a hospital in southwestern Seoul, police said Thursday.

Shin Jae-min, 34, was found at a motel in southwestern Seoul at noon following searches of his house, where his cellphone was found along with three pages of suicide notes. 


Police raid the house of Shin Jae-min, whistleblower and former official at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, after a friend reported Shin missing Thursday morning and expressed concerns that he might be planning to take his own life. (Yonhap)

Shin’s friend had called the police after receiving a message from Shin in the morning saying “things are difficult these days,” raising concerns about suicide, the police said.

Shortly after Shin’s disappearance was reported, an online post thought to have been written by Shin fueled the concerns further.

The post said, “I love you and I am sorry, Mom and Dad. But I have made the right choice. I hope the country will become better through my death.”

It also said Korea needs to embrace whistleblowing as well as a culture of sharing the decision-making process for public policy.

On YouTube, Shin had accused Moon’s office of forcing the issuance of 4 trillion won worth of deficit-covering bonds in late 2017, despite opposition from the Finance Ministry.

In response, the Ministry of Economy and Finance took legal action against Shin, saying he had breached confidentiality laws concerning public records.

According to Shin, the Blue House also ordered the replacement of the CEO of KT&G through KT&G’s second-biggest shareholder, the state-run Industrial Bank of Korea, as well as the replacement of the president of local newspaper Seoul Shinmun.

The accusations have prompted heated debate on the political scene, with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party considering legal action against Cheong Wa Dae over the alleged bond issuance.

The ruling Democratic Party lashed out at the Liberty Korea Party, accusing it of politicizing the issue, and called for a meeting of the National Assembly’s Strategy and Finance Committee.

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)