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Rep. Lee Switches Position on His Finger Cut

Posted May. 19, 2005 23:26,   


Lee Kwang-jae, a lawmaker of the ruling Uri Party who is haunted by the suspicion that he cut his finger to evade military service, argued yesterday that he cut the finger to write a pledge to his comrades who actively participated in student movements together with Lee in the 1980s. This is stated on his homepage (www.yeskj.or.kr).

Lee’s exact words were, “In the spring of 1986, when the death of movement participants and the unbearable tortures they had to face came to be known, I cut my figure and wrote ‘I will never betray my comrades’ on the Korean flag.”

He also said, “If I joined the army in 1986, I would probably have revealed information about my comrades because at that time, those who were engaged in the movement were sent to the security headquarters of the armed forces right after enlistment and underwent inhumane tortures. I couldn’t accept such reality,” adding, “Without considering the historical context and circumstances at that time, if one criticizes me for cutting my finger to evade military service, I will tacitly accept it.” This means, however, that he admits cutting his finger was an attempt to evade military service to some extent.

On top of that, such argument is not consistent with what he said in an interview with Dong-a Ilbo in April 2003, when he said, “My figure was cut by a machine when I worked as a factory worker in Bupyeong, Incheon.”

While lawmakers of the opposition Grand National Party asked Lee to be responsible for what he said and what he did, the ruling Uri Party is refraining from issuing a statement on this, saying, “This is a matter that only Lee can deal with.”

Yong-Gwan Jung In-Jik Cho yongari@donga.com cij1999@donga.com