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Slain S. Korean official tried to defect to NK: coast guard

South Korea’s Coast Guard searches for the missing Seoul fisheries official, Sept. 25, 2020. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s Coast Guard searches for the missing Seoul fisheries official, Sept. 25, 2020. (Yonhap)
The South Korean fisheries official who was shot dead by North Korea in the West Sea near the maritime border in late September was making defection, the Korea Coast Guard reaffirmed Thursday.

“The missing official was a heavy gambler. We judge that he may have been mentally disturbed and attempted defection to the North to escape reality,” the Coast Guard told a press briefing, concluding its investigation into the case.

The Coast Guard said, the official, who was in his 40s, made a total of 159 wire transfers in the past 15 months to gambling sites. He made a transfer about an hour before he began his night shift, after which he went missing. He was wearing a life jacket when the North Korea guards found him in their waters.

The chances that the official lost his footing or attempted to take his life were extremely low, it added.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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