The second trial court also acquitted top Coast Guard officers, including former Korean Coast Guard chief Kim Seok-kyun, who were tried for causing the death of passengers by failing to properly conduct rescue operations during the Sewol ferry disaster . .
On the 7th, the 2nd Criminal Division of the Seoul High Court (Presiding Judge Lee Won-beom) acquitted nine members of the Coast Guard command at the time, including the former head of the Coast Guard Kim Seok-kyun and the former head of the West Coast Guard Kim Soo-hyun, was accused of charges such as manslaughter in the office, as in the first trial.
Former Commissioner Kim and others were accused of killing 303 people and injuring 142 others when they failed to fulfill their duty to instruct the passengers to evacuate the ship during the Sewol ferry disaster on April 16, 2014. An Investigation Team Special Sewol Ferry Disaster the prosecution charged them in February 2020, saying they breached their duty of care to encourage passengers to leave the ship and save as many lives as possible by entering rescuers into the body. Prosecutors believe there was negligence in the work of the Coast Guard Command before and after rescue forces such as Coast Guard patrol boats and helicopters arrived at the scene of the accident.
The first trial court acquitted, noting difficulties in properly understanding the situation at the scene due to poor communication between the rescue personnel and the situation room at the time. The captain of the Sewol ferry and the Coast Guard boat Mokpo 123, which arrived first at the scene, did not properly report the Sewol ferry passengers’ measures to evacuate the ship and the situation on the site, so it seems that the HQ could ordered to have misunderstood that passengers were leaving the ship.
The appellate court upheld the judgment of the first instance. Regarding the situation before the rescue forces arrived at the scene, the appellate court said, “The information that the Western Sea Police Agency situation room received from the Jindo Maritime Traffic Management System (VTS) and recognized was, ‘The Sewol tilted. about 50 degrees and asking about emergency evacuation of passengers. ‘ It was the same limited information,” he said. “On the basis of this information, it is difficult to come to the conclusion that it was easy to foresee the fact that passengers remained on board despite that. the sinking of the Sewol was imminent and an immediate evacuation was required.”
However, Kim Moon-hong, former commander of the Mokpo Coast Guard, and former captain Lee Jae-doo of ship 3009 belonging to the Mokpo Coast Guard, who were accused of making a report as if they had made a timely broadcast of pulling’ n back immediately. after the accident, each was sentenced to one year and 6 months in prison, as in the first trial. He was sentenced to 3 years probation, 6 months imprisonment and 2 years probation.
At a press conference immediately after the verdict, Lee Tae-ho, chairman of the standing executive committee of the April 16th Regiment, said, “Like the collapse of Sampoong Department Store and Seongsu Bridge, they say there can only be ‘the end’ punish the Sewol incident.” It’s an atmosphere that moves on to punish only the ‘end’.”
He continued, “The sentence for the 123rd Mokpo Coast Guard officer was reduced because the Coast Guard command was jointly responsible. If the command is innocent, who will take responsibility for the rights of the people who were violated?” I can’t,” he said. He said.
Former Suit 123 Target Coast Guard Kim Gyeong-il, who first arrived at the scene of the Sewol ferry disaster, was sentenced to three years in prison for neglect of duty. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison at the first trial, but it was reduced to 3 years in prison on appeal.