March 28, 2023
INCHEON – Chun Woo-won, former President Chun Doo-hwan’s grandson, entered Korea on early Tuesday and was immediately arrested on suspicion of drug offences.
The 27-year-old, who lives in New York, arrived at Incheon Airport at around 6 a.m. Tuesday. The drug investigation team under the Seoul Metropolitan Police arrested Chun and took him to Seoul for further investigation. He was wearing handcuffs as he appeared at the arrival gate.
Before the flight, Chun repeatedly expressed his will to visit Gwangju and apologize to the bereaved families and victims of the Gwangju Democratic Uprising.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to apologize. I will cooperate (with the police investigation) as much as possible and apologize to the bereaved families and victims of the Gwangju Uprising as soon as I am released,” Chun said.
Regarding the drug use charges, Chun said “I showed it all through the live stream, to confront my sin. My records of drug usage can be checked through hospitals in the United States.”
South Korea claims jurisdiction over its citizens even outside of the country, so Koreans can be subject to prosecution even if they use drugs overseas.
When asked the reason why he decided to apologize to the bereaved families of the Gwangju Uprising, Chun said, “As much as my life is precious, all people’s lives matter. I am alive now, but (the victims) are not here, so I am guilty.”
About his family’s reaction, Chun said “Some people call me crazy, and some are genuinely worried.”
Chun spoke about his family’s alleged illicit funds and wrongdoings through his Instagram starting Mar. 13, while in New York.
Chun even called his grandfather a “slaughterer” and said that he wishes to apologize for his family’s crimes. On Mar. 17, Chun was taken to hospital after using drugs during a live YouTube broadcast.
Former President Chun was a military dictator from 1980, and was responsible for the bloody suppression of 1980 Gwangju Uprising which resulted in the deaths of at least hundreds.
He was sentenced to pay 220.5 billion won ($169 million) in penalties for a bribery conviction, but left 95.6 billion won unpaid, claiming he did not have the money despite living in luxury. He never acknowledged nor apologized for acts of violence and the massacre that took place during his rule, and died in late 2021.