The Statement of the Korean Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship (May 28, 2014)
1. Who lied indeed? The prosecutors lied. They said that they had never requested us to take down our banner that mentions Kim Ki-Choon, the President’s Chief of Staff. Then once we released the phone conversation log, they switched to saying that such a request could have been made by someone associated with the prosecution. However, the person who called us was the designated prosecutor on this case, whose identity is already much known to the public. What is written on the banner had no direct relationship with the investigation, but the
prosecutors pointed it out to their opposing party, making them feel oppressed: this is problematic. However, this is not all. The prosecutors claim that requesting to get rid of the banner stating “Let’s go the whole hog, Kim Ki-Choon!” is not an issue at all: this is an even larger problem. The prosecutors are not working as a thoroughly independent institution. Would they be able to enforce law strictly? The prosecutors did not make any comments on the banner that states “Aren’t we together?” They only requested us to take down the banner that mentions the full name of the current Chief of Staff. They requested us to place the banner that expresses our willingness to
accept law enforcement, but is the prosecution enforcing the law thoroughly and appropriately? Aren’t you investigating the family of Yoo Byung-Eun for the purpose of protecting someone?
2. During the meeting of her cabinet yesterday, President Park Geun-Hye said that the Yoo family is the root cause of the tragedy. The accident is still under investigation, and no trials have ever started yet; however, she publically stated that the Yoo family is to blame for the cause of the accident. Is this even legally appropriate?
Our understanding of the Korean law is that you cannot treat a person as a criminal until the trials are over, even if he or she is a strong suspect. The President has once said that no one can ever flout the established law, but how can she herself make such a problematic statement now?
3. During the open debate in the Seoul mayoral election, the candidate Chung Mong-Joon was asked to show his opinion about the recent accident that killed two workers of Hyundai Heavy Industries. Mr. Chung responded that ownership and management are separate in Hyundai Heavy Industries and also that issues of industrial disasters must be viewed with the consideration of how other companies handle such issues. We would like to ask Mr. Chung how he thinks of the current situation in which all public forces are focusing on capturing the Yoo family, even offering a reward for information on their whereabouts.
4. We understand that the President had a point in making her statement that we (the church) are flouting the law and the Yoo family is committing criminal acts. According to the current law, it must be right for them to turn themselves in and respond to the summons after the warrants are issued. We are only raising questions about the
priorities and directions for investigations. The first and foremost goal of the investigation should be to discover causes of the accident development, but we are afraid that all public attention is directed at the Yoo family and that the truth may never be revealed to the world. Moreover, we feel we are receiving unfair treatment because
judgments of the case are not being made in comparison with other companies’ cases, just as the candidate Chung Mong-Joon has mentioned. If Chonghaejin Marine were not associated with a particular religious organization, would the investigations have progressed in a different way? So long as fairness and justice were guaranteed, why would we stand against law? We have made several statements that things progress in the same way as how the Odaeyang incident was dealt with back in the year of 1991, in which the Chief of Staff, Kim Ki-Choon, was the Minister of Justice of South Korea. It is likely that we will be remembered by the Korean citizens that we have something to do with an incident that provoked national attention. We are also afraid that the investigations may simply rely on false witnesses and testimony and eventually conclude with forged and manipulated reports on the
case. Therefore, we plead once again. Once the truth about the background of the Sewol ferry accident is clearly revealed, then we will step forward to accept the judgment of the law.
Lee Tae-Jong, a spokesperson of the Korean Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship. May 28, 2014