Go to contents

Russia asked to reinvestigate 1996 murder of SK diplomat

Russia asked to reinvestigate 1996 murder of SK diplomat

Posted September. 27, 2011 08:41,   


The South Korean government has urged Russia to reinvestigate the murder of a South Korean consulate officer, Choi Deok-geun, who was serving in the Russian Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok when killed by an unidentified assailant 15 years ago.

Seoul also requested the extension of the statute of limitations of the case. Russian investigators are known to have accepted the request and begun a re-examination.

Choi was murdered in October 1996 on the stairs to his apartment in Vladivostok. When his corpse was discovered, a dent was found in his skull and poison in his bloodstream of the same type as that had been carried by a North Korean spy.

Witnesses said two to three men were waiting for him in his apartment. Choi is known to have been investigating North Korea’s counterfeiting U.S. currency and drug trafficking activities.

Amid rising demand for the truth both at home and abroad, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered a thorough investigation of the case. Moscow, however, was criticized for trying to terminate the case as a burglary. The murderer was never caught, leaving the case unsolved. The statute of limitations expires next month.

A South Korean government official said Monday, “We questioned Russian authorities about this case through a diplomatic channel and demanded the extension of the statute of limitations. The Russian government replied by saying it is re-examining the case based on postmortem and other evidence.”

Another official said, "Advances in scientific investigation have enabled the tackling of crimes left unsolved for decades, which gives hope to Choi’s case.”