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No Gunshot When Pfc. Huh Died

Posted October. 29, 2002 22:52,   


Previously, Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths determined that Pfc. Huh Won-keun was murdered by his higher-up, and the case was covered up as a suicide. Following the determination, a special task force set up by Defense Ministry conducted its own investigation of the case. Finally, on Oct. 29th, the task force announced its own findings that are contradictory to the commission`s conclusion. The commission announced on Sep. 10th that one of Huh`s higher-ups, whose last name is Noh, got drunk at a party hosted by the company, and mistakenly shot Huh to death. Then, Noh and others covered up the case as a suicide. But, the determination by the task force directly disputes the finding, and therefore heated debate is expected to ensue.

Brigade Gen. Chong Soo-sung, who led the task force, released the interim results on Oct. 29th and annouced, "9 solders stated that there was not gunshot fired. And they are the ones who were at the company`s barrack at around 2-4 a.m. on April 2, 1984, which is believed to be the time the accident took place. In addition, Noh and other 4 individuals passed the lie-detector test." He added, "One of the two solders, who testified before the commission that Noh fired a shot at Huh, denounced his previous statement and denied it." He also opined that the statement of the other witness, whose last name is Chun, was not reliable, either. Citing evidence supporting its determination, the task force pointed out the inconsistency of the testimony Chun made. On the other hand, Chun would not accept any suggestion for direct questioning along with other solders.

In addition, the commission concluded that, right after the occurrence of the accident, the head of the battalion and one intelligence officer Huh visited the company. But the task force denied the finding and said, “9 out of 10 solders at the company`s command consistently denied their visitation. Furthermore, the battalion`s head passed the lie-detector test." The task force, however, did not make a total denial of the possibility that Pfc. Huh might have been killed by a third party. Thus, the team continues its investigation, focusing on possible problems regarding the data collection at the crime scene. Then, by middle of next month, it is expected to announce its final determination.

In response, one member of the commission, Kim Choon-gon held a press conference and expressed, "We wished the task force could find out truth regarding various questions we could not answer due to the limitations on our authority and time allowed. Now, the task force sounds like turning upside down our determination. We feel really sorry about it." He stressed, "We stake our reputation on our determination as long as the task force could not find any hard evidence disputing our conclusion."

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