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Late retired Army general expresses regret over probe

11:39 December 08, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- A late retired Army general who jumped off a building after being questioned over allegedly abusing his authority to investigate families of victims from a ferry sinking in 2014 left behind a note expressing regret over the on-going probe, his lawyer said Saturday.

Lee Jae-su, former chief of the Defense Security Command (DSC), the military intelligence unit, threw himself off a building located in the eastern Seoul district of Songpa on Friday.

"During the incident, the DSC and its staff were devoted and tried their best," Lee said in the note, expressing regret over the investigation.

"To my family, relatives and everyone who have expressed their support to me, I am so sorry. I apologize for causing troubles to colleagues who loved the Army," he added.

The late retired general also urged prosecutors to be generous to others involved and blame him for everything.

Lee, 60, was being probed by the prosecution over his alleged involvement in the illegal surveilling of bereaved families of victims from a 2014 deadly ferry sinking that took more than 300 lives.

Prosecutors accused him of ordering his officers to collect information about any possible misconduct by the families to adversely affect the public's sympathetic sentiment toward them.

Prosecutors believed the DSC undertook such tasks at the behest of the office of then President Park Geun-hye, who had faced a huge political backlash over her government's alleged mishandling of the rescue process during the sinking of the Sewol ferry, ahead of the 2014 local elections.

Lee Jae-su, the former Defense Security Command chief, appears for a court hearing on his arrest warrant at the Seoul Central District Court on charges of illegal surveillance of Sewol families on Dec. 3, 2018. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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