On April 25th, Son Jeong-min, a college student who was drinking with his friend at the Banpo Han River Park, went missing. Everyone, including his family, wished for his safe return, but Son was eventually found dead on April 30th in the Han River. At first, the case seemed to be a tragic disappearance and death incident. However, when Son’s father raised suspicions about his friend, who was with Son at the Han River before he went missing, the view surrounding the case completely reversed. In addition to the suspicions raised by Son’s father, such as the fact that Son’s friend did not woke up Son and returned home alone, threw away his shoes that he wore on the day of the incident because it was soiled with mud, and possessed Son’s cell phone by mistake but his own one has not been found, people also began to question the actions of the friend like attending the police investigation with a lawyer. In response to the suspicions, Son’s friend issued a statement on May 17th, but people’s doubts are not fading away so far.
Of course, the investigation should be conducted with all possibilities in mind, so suspecting Son’s friend is possible. The problem is that some people who go too far ahead. Although there is no proven evidence yet to show that Son’s friend is a suspect, they criticize him and his family with malicious comments, and even dig up his personal information. They claim that it is for the justice, but this is against the presumption of innocence. According to this principle, even those arrested and detained of any crime by investigative agencies must be presumed innocent until a conviction is upheld. Therefore, Son’s friend must be considered innocent until clear evidence that he is the culprit is found and be convicted. Sympathizing with a bereaved family’s mind or feel frustrated with the police investigation are okay. However, it is wrong to be overwhelmed by that emotion and conclude hastily. What if Son’s friend is not the cause of Son’s death? How are we going to compensate for the damage caused from reckless criticism? Are those who are blaming Son’s friend and his family even ready to take responsibility if their judgment turns out to be wrong?
It is not too late to criticize Son’s friend if he really turned out to be the culprit of the incident. Blame made by emotions go against the principle of presumption of innocence and only confuse the investigation. What we must do now is to look at events from a sober perspective with all the possibilities in mind. I hope that the truth of the incident will be revealed as soon as possible so that there will be no more confusion.
Kang Da-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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