Woman Arrested for Posing as Ferry Rescue Diver

Hong Ga-hye is being questioned at a police agency in Muan, South Jeolla Province on Monday. Hong Ga-hye is being questioned at a police agency in Muan, South Jeolla Province on Monday.

Police on Monday arrested a woman who appeared on TV news last week posing as a rescue diver and claiming the government was blocking rescue efforts by private divers at the site of the sunken ferry Sewol.

In an interview with cable TV channel MBN last Friday, two days after the disaster, Hong Ga-hye (26) said, "I heard the authorities told some of our private divers to sit this one out without making efforts." She also said, "Several divers said to me that they tried to talk to trapped passengers and send signals to each other."

Hong arrived at the scene last Thursday and approached MBN news crew, telling them she was a private diver and the authorities were not telling the truth about the rescue efforts.

When her comments led to a huge outcry, Hong disappeared from the radar, only to turn herself in to police on Sunday evening.

She admitted merely repeating comments she had read on social media.

Police have found that she had no diving license.

Hong apologized to the families of the victims for causing confusion, sobbing as she spoke, but a police spokesman said she stopped crying the moment the camera crews left. 

Hong was previously booked by police in Daegu on March 21 for threatening her neighbor with a golf club.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 22, 2014 10:47 KST