Pattaya Daily News

24 May 2009 :: 14:05:09 pm 28045

Former President Roh Jumps To Death

Former President Roh Moo-hyun, embroiled in a widening corruption scandal, jumped to his death Saturday morning after leaving a brief note, his lawyer said. He was 62.?
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Roh threw himself off a 30-meter-high cliff in a mountain behind his home in Bongha Village, Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, around 6:40 a.m. while hiking with a security guard.

“Former President Roh left his house at 5:45 a.m. and appears to have jumped off a rock at around 6:40 a.m., while hiking on the Mt. Bongha,” Moon Jae-in, Roh’s lawyer and former secretary, said in a nationally televised statement.

A police officer quoted the security guard as saying that his fall was “too abrupt” for him to block it.

Right before jumping, Roh asked the accompanying guard to borrow a cigarette, police said, citing the guard as saying.

The note Roh left reads, “Many people have been suffering too much because of me. The sufferings that will come are also too enormous. I cannot do anything due to bad heath. I cannot read nor write. Life and death are just one piece of the nature, aren’t they?”

Roh also said: “Don’t be sorry. Don’t blame anyone. It’s all destiny. Please cremate my body and leave just a small tombstone near my home.”

His aides found the note saved in a file in his computer. The note indicates his suicide was premeditated.

After the fall, Roh was immediately taken to a nearby small hospital around 7 a.m., but he was unconscious and in serious condition with multi-fracture and serious wounds in brain. He was again transferred to a bigger hospital, Pusan National University Hospital in Yeongsan, South Gyeongsang Province.

Despite heart massage, he failed to recover and passed away from the brain damage at 9:30 a.m., hospital officials and police said.

Roh’s wife Kwon Yang-sook passed out at the hospital after confirming his death. According to news reports, Roh skipped meals and spent hours alone for the past three days.

President Lee Myung-bak said that the news was “truly hard to believe” and called Roh’s death “sad and tragic,” according to presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan.

President Lee canceled his prior engagements for Saturday and held an emergency meeting with secretaries. Prime Minister Han Seung-soo also convened a Cabinet meeting.

Roh has been under investigation of the alleged bribery involving his family members and long-time supporter, shoemaking firm Taekwang’s CEO Park Yeon-cha.

However, the Ministry of Justice and the prosecution declared an end to the investigation. Justice Minister Kim Kyung-han said, “The ongoing investigation will be put on halt following his death.”

Roh’s elder brother, Geon-pyeong, who was put behind bars for another bribery charge, was temporarily released by next Friday to attend his funeral, whose date and location have yet to be determined.

The former head of state has been suspected of taking at least $6.4 million in bribe from the Taekwang CEO during his presidency, dealing a devastating blow to him, who earned fame as a “clean” politician.

The prosecution was planning to indict him for bribery as early as next week. His wife was scheduled to face re-summons as early as this weekend to be questioned over her involvement.

On April 30, Roh was summoned to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, making himself the country’s third former president questioned by the prosecution following Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, who were both convicted in 1995 of mutiny and multi-billion won bribery charges following a Dec. 12, 1979 military coup. He denied bribery allegations leveled against him.

Before presenting himself for the questioning, Roh told reporters, “I am deeply ashamed before my fellow citizens. I am sorry to have disappointed you.”

In his last posting on his Web site, on April 22, he wrote, “You should now discard me,” adding “I no longer symbolize the values you pursue. I am no longer qualified to speak for such things as democracy, progressiveness and justice.”

Born in August 1946 in Bongha, he passed Korean bar exam in 1975. Serving as a human rights lawyer, Roh tapped into the political circle in 1988 as a member of the National Assembly.

Roh took office in 2003, vowing to fight corruption.

Despite high initial hopes, Roh’s administration quickly became dogged by allegations of incompetence, while Roh’s frequent indulgence in personal clashes with his opponents and critics eroded public support.

He is survived by wife and two children.

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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