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Detained Busan Mayor Ahn Sang-young Committed Suicide

Posted February. 04, 2004 23:08,   


Busan Mayor Ahn Sang-young, who had been detained in the Busan Detention House on bribery charges, strangled himself to death early Wednesday morning.

At 1:05 a.m. a guard found Ahn hanging by a rope, which he made out of his underwear shirt, on a fan installed 1.9 meters above the floor of his prison cell.

The mayor was transferred to the Seoul Detention House to be interrogated by the Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office on charges of allegedly receiving 300 million won from a bus firm, Dongsung, in return for business favors on January 29. Then, he was confined in the Busan Detention House again on Tuesday afternoon.

It is reported that Ahn’s attitude was no different than usual prior to his suicide. After having a meal and reading a book, he reportedly went to sleep around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, saying he was tired from a long journey from Seoul.

Prosecutors said they assume that Ahn hung himself to death after being unable to overcome the mental pressure from additional bribery charges against him ahead of his sentencing. They are currently investigating the circumstances of the death.

An investigation team, composed of the Ministry of Justice and Busan District Public Prosecutors’ Office, said some letters, diary, and a memorandum were found in Ahn’s cell, but it is not clear whether he wrote a suicide note, after investigating the Busan Detention House. It added that it will decide whether or not to disclose those letters to the public after consulting with the bereaved family.

An infirmary of the Busan Detention House where Ahn was detained is a solitary cell 1.7 pyong large and is equipped with a mattress. A light is always on in the cell, and its windows are made of transparent acryl that enables detention officials to closely watch the cell. A guard had made his rounds after 8:00 p.m. but reportedly failed to closely monitor Ahn’s activities, creating debates over the poor management of the detention house.

After talking with Ahn’s family, the city of Busan decided to hold a funeral for Ahn on February 8 in a plaza at the city hall of Busan city. A by-election for the Busan mayor post will be held on June 10.

Ahn had been held the detention center since October 16 on charges of allegedly receiving 100 million won in kickbacks from the head of Chinhung International Inc., a local construction company. He had recently also been under investigation for new allegations that he took an additional 300 million won in bribes from a transportation company, Dongsung.

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