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S Korean ferry captain gets 36 years in prison

23 Comments
By HYUNG-JIN KIM

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23 Comments
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Not life in prison? No death penalty? This guy caused 300 people to die and he gets what seems to be a fairly average prison sentence?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

To be fair, he was the captain of a ship badly modified and operating under unlawful conditions. The owner of the shell company that operated the ship has already committed suicide. Others in the hierarchy might be held accountable. The captain himself certainly acted with criminal judgement, but to say that he "caused" the accident is unfair.

I hope that Korea takes to heart this lesson and ensures that the standards on the books are applied in practice.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Lee has apologized for abandoning the passengers, but said he didn’t know his action would lead to so many deaths.

Then he must have a very low IQ. Certainly should not have been a "captain".

The captain himself certainly acted with criminal judgement, but to say that he "caused" the accident is unfair.

He did cause it. An irresponsible coward.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Ships captains are not what they once were. More like glorified bus drivers these days. Nice to see the SK justice system at its reasonable best.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I really this professional negligence is probably right on the money, but he didn't set out to kill people, so talk about the death penalty is way out of line. I also think it was impossible for him to get a fair trial when so many were looking for a "cause."

If he had stayed on the boat, he would be dead along with all the other folks, but that is what people in his position are supposed to do, but he wasn't the only one responsible for the actual accident.

Really, it seems to me that there is plenty of blame to go around, and that heaping all of it on one person is not right. Read the account on Wikipedia starting with the sharp turn and see what you think. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_MV_Sewol#.22Turn_ship_to_145_degrees.22_.2808:48.29

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think the issue is that he commanded so many of the students to stay in their rooms, which led to their deaths.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

the issue is that he commanded so many of the students to stay in their rooms,

so that he could escape easily, is the issue.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Yes, I believe he ordered the people to stay in their spots so they would not block him from escaping.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

36 years is a pretty hefty sentence, and likely means a death sentence for him -- and I doubt he'll be treated very well in prison. The others got heavy sentences as well, and has been mentioned some people responsible have already committed suicide. There is no way you can place a value on a life lost, let alone hundreds, and keeping in mind as well how young so many of them were, but people suggesting the captain (and maybe others) deserve the death penalty are not thinking rationally. He's guilty of a lot of things, first and foremost neglect resulting in a huge number of deaths, and cowardice, but he did not 'cause' the accident, nor was it his intention to murder these people, so the death sentence is not appropriate.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Everyone is blaming the captain for being a criminal. While he is a huge coward to abandon the ship early, it could have been anyone of you under the mills of bureaucracy and corruption pressure on higher hierarchies. The one's really to blame for this accident are the ones who allowed the overloading of the ship's freight and who let rampant corruption pass. YOU SHOULD BLAME THE SYSTEM FIRST! As a captain he ultimately takes the responsibility for this.

I would now be more angry about that the SK government abandoned the search for the last few missing passengers. But as a citizen you are powerless against the decisions of the government even if that means the body of your loved ones will never be found to rest in peace.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I think this is a horrific, and unjust sentence. He didn't murder anyone. Death caused by negligence is just that, negligence. Obviously he belongs in prison, but for 36 years? That is in fact a death sentence. And the rest of the crew, 20 years in prison? Insane. The ones who deserve these kind of sentences, are the owners, and the bureaucrats who let this barge go, overloaded. The owner killed himself, so they went after the family, who get a couple years in prison. What about the corrupt government officials who looked the other way? When will we see them prosecuted?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Everyone is blaming the captain for being a criminal. While he is a huge coward to abandon the ship early, it could have been anyone of you under the mills of bureaucracy and corruption pressure on higher hierarchies.

Yes and no. But telling the kids to stay in their cabins, rather than get out on the decks where they could have evacuated was gross negligence, and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of kids. Thirty-six years seems a little long, but he definitely deserved a hefty jail time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The captain forgot one basic and the most important rule in seamanship. The captain stays with the ship, always. He should be the last one to flee, not the first. Passenger's safety should always be the first priority, next comes the crew, and lastly, his/her own life. Personally, I prefer that he live to reflect his mistake, because sometimes, life is the most hideous punishment than death. And in his case, 36 years in prison would means life behind bars.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

YOU SHOULD BLAME THE SYSTEM FIRST!

Of course yes. I hope SK spends less energy on Japan bashing and more energy building better social systems. News says that even the high school kids on the sunken ferry headed for an anti-Japan facility on the island.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Of course yes. I hope SK spends less energy on Japan bashing and more energy building better social systems.

Seeing as you spend so much energy bashing Korea, you could take that same advice yourself.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not life in prison? No death penalty?

He's 68 years old, 36 years in prison means he's going to spend rest of his life in prison. Nobody can serve a death sentence unless it's first degree planned murder. The deaths were caused by criminal negligence, not first degree murders.

it could have been anyone of you under the mills of bureaucracy and corruption pressure on higher hierarchies

That's why a new Parliamentary bill was passed just few days ago, called the Sewol Bill. An investigation team made out of prosecutors, lawyers, and civil rights workers will look deeper into the system to ferret out corruption, illegal links, and further lay charges.

News says that even the high school kids on the sunken ferry headed for an anti-Japan facility on the island.

Tinawatanabe, rightwing Japanese propaganda news is not really a legitimate news. You really should not believe every laughable crap that's written in those publications.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Whoever decided to put that captain in charge of the ship should be sitting in jail handcuffed to him for 36 years - otherwise this justice is a sham.

Most of the Sewol's crew members were temporary contract workers, a common practice among Korea's domestic maritime transporters. Lee Junsok, for example - the Sewol's captain - was a 69-year-old temporary hire with a monthly salary of US$2,700. Just like the captain, more than half the crew were temporary workers with contracts of six months to a year, and were denied not just fringe benefits but also safety trainings. As if hiring temporary workers was not enough, Chongaejin also minimized its spending on crew training. It allocated a paltry $540 for the crew's safety education in 2013, whereas it spent $10,000 on "entertainment" and $230,000 on PR, clearly showing its priorities.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/KOR-01-230914.html

An off-duty captain of the sunken South Korean ferry has told investigators that the owners ignored his warning that the ship shouldn't carry too much cargo because it wasn't very stable, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/off-duty-south-korea-ferry-captain-says-he-warned-sewol-was-unstable-after-modifications/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Molenir Nov. 11, 2014 - 08:22PM JST What about the corrupt government officials who looked the other way? When will we see them prosecuted?

The revelations by South Korea’s shady dealings are forcing the country to understand the deep-seated corruption. The ferry sinking exposed a darker side of South Korea goverment that plays by bribes. The problem is embedded in the South Korea’s bureaucracy and it emphasizes family connections, regional ties and friendships forged in school. Corruption in Korea is a kind of time-honored tradition without which social success would be almost impossible. It also can be traced to many decades of close links between past authoritarian governments headed by former army generals and the big business such as Samsung, Hyundai and the now-defunct Daewoo. P

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think the issue is that he commanded so many of the students to stay in their rooms, which led to their deaths.

Just one of the many issues.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think it's an outrageous sentence, motivated by public feeling rather than proper adherence to justice. Negligence and manslaughter should be punished, but this is ludicrous. He was ultimately responsible for the ship's safety, but he wasn't even on watch at the time that the accident occurred.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's why a new Parliamentary bill was passed just few days ago, called the Sewol Bill

So it takes nothing short of a disaster to even begin to make an effort to eradicate corruption.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The cause of the disaster is the lack of oversight creating the loopholes that pave the way to ignore basic safety standards. It's the Korean government who should bow their heads in shame rather than transferring the blame, make scapegoats and give them harsh punishments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

well-deserved

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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