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“Hole” in Supervision of Prisoners

Posted February. 04, 2004 23:16,   


News of the suicide of Ahn Sang-young, the mayor of Busan, on February 4, left citizens of Busan shocked and distressed.

In the meantime, the investigation team at the Justice Department and the Busan district public prosecutor’s office started their investigation of the Busan prison for not properly inspecting Ahn’s imprisonment conditions.

The Atmosphere in Busan--

Responses of Busan citizens varied. Chung Dae-kyu (44, company employee) expressed his feelings by commenting that “Ahn’s suicide is distressful considering the fact that he was a bureaucratic figure and because he chose an extreme method to commit suicide.” He also added that “a close examination of the facts is needed.” Kim Hyo-young (35, housewife) said that she hopes this incident will “serve as a reflective opportunity to politicians and also to us citizens for this misfortune to never be repeated.”

The Busan division of the National Grand Party to which Ahn belonged condemned his sudden death and blamed it on “the current regime for being obsessed with winning the election and killing the Busan National Grand Party, and a pressure investigation.” On the other hand, the Busan division of the Woori Party reported that “although Ahn had been tried in court for a scandalous incident, his effort and achievements for the development of Busan will still be recognized.”

After holding an emergency executive meeting on the subject of Oh Guh-don as Acting Mayor of Busan in the morning, Busan appealed to the nation through its “letter for the citizens of Busan” to “get past the shock and concern, and for the citizens to come together in leading Busan.”

Meanwhile, a number of netizens expressed their opposition at holding Ahn’s funeral under the position of Mayor.

As a response, a city official voiced that “since Ahn’s sentencing has not yet been confirmed, he is innocent in legal terms, hence his funeral will honor him as a Mayor for his achievements.”

Ahn is survived by his mother (91), wife Kim Chae-jung (65), son Jung Hoon (30) and daughter (37) living in Seoul.

Prison Investigation--

The Busan district public prosecutors’ office organized a team (including prosecutor Lee Chul-hee as the head of team) consisting of Daegu correction facility officials along with two other Department of Justice investigative officials to visit the Sam Sun Hospital in Sasang-gu, Joorae-dong where Ahn’s body is being kept, and the Busan prison for further investigation.

The Busan prison claims that the time of Ahn’s death was approximately between 12:45 a.m. and 1:03 am on the 4th. Mayor Ahn went to bed on February 3 around 8:00 p.m. and was still sleeping when the guard on duty checked on the prisoners at about 12:45 a.m. on February 4.

However, after about 18 minutes, when the next guard checked on the state of things, being unable to see Ahn on the floor, he looked inside the window to find Ahn hanging on the fan attached to the wall according to insiders at the prison.

Kim Dae-hee, a warden, reported that “at the time of discovery, his heart was still beating and he was rushed to the nearest hospital, but he died.”

However, the bereaved family is arguing that the supervision was too negligent.