A South Korean fisherman who suddenly disappeared from a boat on duty and was later found and shot dead in North Korean territorial waters may have used his escape to commit suicide, said Professor Park Jong Chul of Gyeongsang University.
Earlier, it was reported that a 47-year-old fishing control officer of the Kazakh Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries disappeared from an inspection boat near North Korean waters on September 21. According to intelligence, he swam into the waters of North Korea, where he was discovered by local fishing control, but instead of providing assistance, North Koreans shot and killed a man.
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According to the South Korean military, the official could theoretically have tried to escape to the North. But on the deck, his colleagues found the boots of a man who had separated the watch and was supposed to come to lunch but did not show up. In South Korea, people usually take off their shoes before committing suicide.
In the expert’s opinion, a man’s attempt to sail away from his boat towards DPRK is unorthodox behavior and usually results in the victims’ unstable mental state.
“I think the investigation will reveal more details about this man. If we recall the incident with Park Wang Zha (a South Korean tourist who was shot and killed by the North Korean military in the Kymgansan mountains in 2008, after which the inter-Korean tourist project was suspended – ed.), then it turned out that she had been treated for a very long time in a psychiatric hospital. And such people should not have been allowed tourist trips to the North. She went for a walk at dawn and went through several army posts. And when she began to shout ‘stop’, she, on the contrary, ran,’ – explains the professor.
Earlier, in an explanatory message to the South Korean government regarding the incident, DPRK reported that soldiers from a patrol boat began firing because a man did not answer questions and then, afraid of warning shots, allegedly tried to escape. In his opinion, Jong Chul Park, even if the official did not respond adequately to North Korean military orders, no information about this or the reasons for his escape to the North will be disclosed.
“Escaping to the North can be associated with a serious mental crisis. People with such problems may attend a variety of thoughts, up to and including suicide, but in this case, it cannot be considered a meaningful suicide or escape. But if the presidential administration had said so at once, the relatives would have obviously been indignant. Now the explanation of the reasons for the escape to the North may cause resistance from the family. When the government first made such facts about Park Wang Chul public, the family of the deceased stated that it defames their honor,” said Park Jong Chul.