Former South Korean military dictator Chun Doo-hwan dies at the age of 90

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His former press secretary Min Joong-ki told reporters that he has multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer in remission, and his health has deteriorated recently. He died at his home in Seoul early in the morning, and his body will be transferred to the hospital for the funeral later that day.

In 1980, as a former military commander, Chun presided over the massacre of democratic demonstrators by the Gwangju army. He was later convicted and sentenced to a reduced death sentence.

About a month before his death, another former president and his coup comrade Lu Taiyu played a crucial but controversial role in the country’s troubled democratic transition at the age of 88.

During the trial in the mid-1990s, an indifferent and straightforward Jun Jun defended the coup necessary to save the country from the political crisis and denied sending troops to Gwangju.

“If the same situation occurs, I believe I will take the same action,” Chun told the court.

Born on March 6, 1931, during the Japanese rule of Korea, Yulgok-myeon, a poor agricultural town in the southeastern part of Hamcheon County.

On August 9, 2021, former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan went to Seoul to attend a court hearing.

After graduating from high school, he joined the army and was promoted all the way until he was appointed commander in 1979. Responsible for investigating the assassination of President Park Chung-hee that year, he wooed his main military allies and gained control. South Korean intelligence agencies will launch a coup on December 12.

“In front of the most powerful organization under President Park Jeong-hee, what surprised me was how easy it was (all) to control them, and how cleverly he took advantage of this situation. In an instant he seemed to have grown into a giant,” All during the coup. Park Junguang, Jun’s subordinate, later told reporters Zhao Jiazhe.

Chun’s eight-year rule under the President’s Blue House was characterized by brutality and political repression. However, it is also marked by an increasingly prosperous economy.

In 1987, during a national democratic movement led by students called for the establishment of a direct election system, Chun resigned.

In 1995, he was charged with treason and treason, and was arrested after refusing to appear at the prosecutor’s office and fled to his hometown.

In what the local media called the “Trial of the Century”, he and his co-conspirator with the coup and successor President Lu Taiyu were convicted of treason, treason and bribery. The judges stated in the verdict that Chun’s rise to power “inflicted tremendous harm to the people through illegal means”.

In 1981, US President Ronald Reagan pointed out to South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan and his wife what they saw from the Truman balcony of the White House.

According to the testimony of survivors, former military officers and investigators, it is believed that thousands of students were killed in Gwangju.

Roh was sentenced to long-term imprisonment and Chun was sentenced to death. However, the Seoul High Court recognized Cheon’s role in the rapid economic development of the Asian “tiger” economy and the role of the president’s peaceful transfer to Roh Moo-hyun in 1988, and reduced his sentence.

The two were pardoned and released by President Kim Young Sam in 1997, in what he called an effort to promote “national unity.”

Chun returned to the spotlight many times. In 2003, he claimed to have 291,000 won (US$245) in cash, two dogs, and total assets of some household appliances. He also owed about 220.5 billion won in fines, which caused an uproar nationwide. His four children and other relatives were later discovered to own large tracts of land in Seoul and luxury villas in the United States.

In 2013, Chun’s family vowed to repay most of his debts, but as of December 2020, his total outstanding fines are still about 100 billion won.

In 2020, Chun was found guilty and sentenced to eight months of probation for slandering the deceased democracy activist and Catholic priest in his 2017 memoir. The prosecution has appealed and Chun will face trial next week.

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