Moon’s chief of staff quizzed over slain official case

December 12, 2022

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) — Prosecutors questioned a former presidential chief of staff under the previous administration Tuesday over alleged irregularities surrounding the 2020 death of a South Korean government official at the hands of North Korea.

Noh Young-min — who served as presidential chief of staff to then President Moon Jae-in from 2019 to 2020 — was summoned for questioning over alleged involvement in the previous government’s conclusion without sufficient evidence that the official was killed while attempting to defect to the North.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office has been investigating the death of the fisheries official, who was fatally shot by North Korean coast guard members near the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea, a day after going missing while on duty on board a fishery inspection vessel.

The former government had concluded the official was attempting to defect to the North. But the Coast Guard and the military reversed that conclusion in June after President Yoon Suk-yeol took office, saying there was no evidence to suggest an attempted defection took place.

Prosecutors allege Noh was one of the first people to report to President Moon face-to-face a day after the official’s death.

Separately, Noh is banned from leaving the country for his alleged involvement in a hiring scandal. He is under suspicion of pressuring a cargo company to hire Lee Jung-geun, a former deputy secretary general of the then ruling Democratic Party, as a full-time adviser.