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Warm-hearted Prosecutor

Posted July. 09, 2005 03:06,   


“I just wanted to help him return to being a sound citizen, rather than administering punishment to him.”

It was belatedly made public that Hwang In-gyu, a prosecutor from the Criminal Department III of the Seoul West District Public Prosecutors’ Office, helped a youth, who had been arrested on a charge of larceny, to reunite with his mother who had deserted him over 10 years ago.

During an investigation process, prosecutor Hwang felt pity for Mr. Heo (20), who was detained in custody on a charge of pilfering 54,000 won from a raw fish shop in Yongsan, Seoul on June 21.

In the process of asking Mr. Heo about his family members, prosecutor Hwang heard of Mr. Heo’s checkered life. Mr. Heo’s mother gave up her home during his childhood, and his father died of an illness when Mr. Heo was in his second year of middle school. Then, alongside his younger sister, he went through several hardships, pegging away at jobs such as blue-collar posts and bar waiter positions, all the while never committing a crime.

While having undergone these adversities, and after spending all the money he had saved on mending his torn ankle ligament from an accident, he succumbed to temptation and stole money.

Prosecutor Hwang said, “I felt compassion for him. Despite simple larceny, I did not abstain from delivering severe punishment on him, a young man who had no previous convictions, on the grounds that he has no fixed home.”

Hence, prosecutor Hwang decided to search for Mr. Heo’s mother. Even if searching for Mr. Heo’s mother who abandoned her home over 10 years ago is not so easy, prosecutor Hwang succeeded in discovering Mr. Heo’s mother’s whereabouts by mobilizing all kinds of available means.

As it turned out, Mr. Heo’s mother had already remarried and was enjoying her life with new family members. Mr. Heo and prosecutor Hwang hesitated to make contact with her. But, in light of Mr. Heo’s younger sister’s wish in which she earnestly longed to meet her mother again, prosecutor Hwang persuaded her mother and arranged for their meeting.

Prosecutor Hwang’s good will has not ended here. Mr. Heo’s indictment was shelved. After hearing Mr. Heo’s pitiful circumstances, the owner of the raw fish shop that was damaged by Mr. Heo delightfully forgave Mr. Heo as well. Currently, Mr. Heo is taking a rest, returning to his mother in a country town located in Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi Province.

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com