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College Student Witnesses Shooting at Mt. Geumgang

Posted July. 14, 2008 08:11,   

한국어

As for the shooting death of a South Korean tourist visiting Mount Geumgang, a college student tourist who was near the scene at the time of the accident said he heard the shooting and the victim`s scream.

“Before dawn in the morning of July 11, I saw a 50-something woman in black walking toward the north and there was a fence, ” said Lee In-bok, 23, a sophomore at Kyungpook National University majoring in history, in a telephone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo. He said, “About 5-10 minutes afterwards, I heard two shootings with 10 seconds apart from the North and a scream.”

Lee, who was participating in the 2008 Mount Geumgang Life and Peace Camp for College Students, was sitting on the beach to see sunrise at the moment.

Lee said, “When she walked toward the fence, I did not take it seriously because I did not know whether the area was off-limits or there was a military watch house.”

He added, “Having heard of the shooting, I went up to a sand dune along the beach next to the fence and looked at where the gun shot came from. I found a person lying down. Three soldiers came out from bushes that were 300 meters away and touched the person with their feet to see whether she was dead or not.”

“When I first saw the scene, I thought it was a military drill or an internal problem and came back to the hotel. When I came back to the South, I heard that it was an accident,” he said. “Before the shooting, I heard some speaker sound from a village in the North, but I was not able to understand it clearly.”

“There was nothing like iron fences for military use, but there was a green iron fence to limit access. It did not extend to the shore, but stopped in the middle and besides them there was a 1.5-meter-high sand dune,” he said. “The dune was high but it was like a slope path so that one could go to the scene without jumping off the fence. Only after climbing the dune, I was able to see the scene after the shooting.”

He explained, “At the time of the shooting, five more tourists were out there to see sunrise near the hotel, though they were not participants of the camp.” What he said seems to be plausible because his argument shares with the explanation of Hyundai Asan Co., the organizer of the trip to the mountain resort. The company said there were many people outside 300-400 meters away from where the shooting took place.

Lee, however, was not able to recall the exact time when the accident happened. He stayed up overnight for the event and was not wearing a wristwatch.

Lee attended the 2008 Mount Geumgang Life and Peace Camp for College Students, which the Daegu Unification Education Council organized, with 40 other college students for three days and came back to the South Friday afternoon.



cavatina@donga.com