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Reports on Tourist Killing Riddled With Inconsistency

Posted July. 17, 2008 08:30,   


Essential details on the shooting death of a South Korean tourist at Mount Geumgang have changed every time North Korea or Hyundai Asan Corp. make official announcements.

Three official announcements or reports on the case have been released, but have been riddled with inconsistencies that do not add up.

Hyundai Asan held a briefing on the day the incident occurred Friday based on Pyongyang’s explanation of the shooting. The following day, a spokesman for the North`s Guidance Bureau for Comprehensive Development of Scenic Spots made a statement.

Hyundai Asan CEO Yoon Man-joon’s news conference yesterday was also based on the results of the North Korean military’s investigation he received while at Mount Geumgang.

Every announcement of details behind the shooting has been riddled with inconsistency, especially when the victim Park Wang-ja left the Beach Hotel and when she was first detected. In its first report, Hyundai Asan said Park left the hotel at 4:31 a.m. and was first found by a sentry 1.2 kilometers away from the green iron fence marking the military zone.

Even if these details are correct, that would mean the 53-year-old Park walked 3.3 kilometers in just 29 minutes.

On this, senior Hyundai Asan executive Kim Yeong-hyun said, “The departure time was incorrect because the clock on the Beach Hotel’s security camera was inaccurate. The time on the camera was set about 13 minutes fast.”

Hyundai Asan also said Park was first discovered 800 meters away from the green fence, as opposed to 1,200 meters in its original report.

Yoon also changed the location of the shooting at the news conference.

In the first report, Park is said to have been shot 200 meters away from the fence, but Yoon changed it to 300 meters yesterday. The distance Park was alleged to have covered was also cut to 2.4 kilometers from 3.3 kilometers.

The time of Park’s death is also different in all three announcements.

According to Hyundai Asan’s report announced Friday, Park is presumed to have died at 5 a.m., but the North`s Guidance Bureau said she passed away around 4:50 a.m.

Then Yoon yesterday said Park is presumed to have died between 4:55 a.m. and 5 a.m.