No State Funeral for Chun Doo-hwan

  • By Pyo Tae-jun

    November 24, 2021 12:08

    Ex-President Chun Doo-hwan, who died Tuesday, will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.

    Long-term aide Min Jeong-ki told reporters in front of Chun's house in northwestern Seoul, "A private funeral will be held at Severance Hospital and the body will be cremated," according to the ex-president's will.

    Chun would have been eligible for a state funeral, but his family are apparently mindful of the ire he still stirs up for refusing to face responsibility for the bloody 1980 Gwangju massacre of democracy protestors. Chun will be laid to rest near the Daejeon National Cemetery rather than a national cemetery because he was convicted of a spate of crimes.

    Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee told reporters, "We offer our condolences to the family of former President Chun Doo-hwan" but added he "didn't reveal the truth of history until the end. It is regrettable that there was no heartfelt apology." She added President Moon Jae-in has no plans to send flowers or pay a condolence visit.

    A portrait of former President Chun Doo-hwan stands on a memorial altar at Severance Hospital in Seoul on Tuesday. /Newsis

    Chun was convicted of treason and bribes in 1996 and sentenced to death the following year with a forfeiture of more than W220 billion, but pardoned later (US$1=W1,189).

    But Chun insisted that the Gwangju pro-democracy protest was a rebellion and denied responsibility for the massacre. Even at the time of his death an appeal was underway of his suspended sentence for defaming an eyewitness to the massacre.

    Prosecutors said they will seek to retrieve W95.6 billion in additional forfeiture Chun failed to pay. The government has retrieved only W124.9 billion or 57 percent of the money, but the process is normally halted when an offender dies.

    Meanwhile, Min claimed that Chun's health deteriorated shortly after getting his Pfizer coronavirus jab. He said he met Chun in June or July this year and found him looking thin and Chun's wife told him that he lost 10 kg because he suffered dietary problems after getting vaccinated. Chun had been suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

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