Forced to drink 22 bottles of ‘Geual’ soju and swim? Is it an accident or gaslighting?

Photo = Provided by SBS ‘I Want to Know’
Photo = Provided by SBS ‘I Want to Know’

[News Reporter Lee Min-ji]

What is the truth about the Geoje Okpo Port drowning incident?

SBS ‘I Want to Know That’, which airs on January 20th, explores a drowning accident that occurred between three friends.

On October 11, 2023, at around 2:20 p.m., a call was received at 119 reporting that a person had fallen into the beach of Okpo Port, Geoje Island, Gyeongsangnam-do. The rescue team that arrived at the scene searched the sea and pulled the man out, but he was already dead. The deceased was Sang-Hoon Yoon (pseudonym), in his 50s. Sang-hoon’s acquaintances, Jeong Byeong-seok (pseudonym) and Lee Jun-tae (pseudonym) were present at the scene. According to the reporter, Sang-hoon, who was drunk, took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, asking Byeong-seok to make a bet on who could swim better.

The three people met in Geoje the night before and shared 22 bottles of soju right before the accident. CCTV captured the scene of Mr. Sang-hoon taking off his clothes and jumping into the water, and as no significant trauma was found on his body, the cause of death was presumed to be drowning. Byeong-seok, an acquaintance who jumped into the water after Sang-hoon, also explained that he was unable to rescue Sang-hoon because he was not immediately visible. Was it a simple accident that occurred due to reckless behavior while drunk? However, unexpected information was obtained by the Coast Guard, which began the investigation.

Mr. Sang-hoon, who lived in Busan, and his friend Byeong-seok came to Geoje the day before the incident because they were called by their acquaintance Mr. Lee. The accident occurred after Mr. Lee ordered Mr. Sang-hoon to go into the water and swim. As a result of the Changwon Coast Guard forming a task force and conducting an investigation for two months, it was confirmed that Mr. Sang-hoon had been constantly monitored and assaulted by Mr. Lee, who was eight years younger than him, and that his basic living expenses had also been extorted. In the end, Mr. Lee was arrested and sent to the prosecution on charges of manslaughter and robbery.

However, Mr. Lee and his family are feeling unfair. The three men, who became close friends at a gosiwon in Busan, claimed that the titles of older brother and younger brother were changed from time to time, and that it was just a joke and a minor argument, and there was no assault or confinement. He also claims that the two people did not pay for the alcohol they drank together with the money that was said to have been extorted, so Mr. Lee paid the bill and got it back later. Above all, Mr. Lee did not order Mr. Sang-hoon to go into the water that day, so he was not involved in Mr. Sang-hoon’s death.

Mr. Lee’s family, who distrust the results of the investigation, believes that all of this is because Byeong-seok Jeong (pseudonym), who was present at the scene, changed his testimony. Lee’s family said that Mr. Lee always took good care of Mr. Byeong-seok, calling him his older brother, and even lent him money when Mr. Byeong-seok said he did not have money for exam fees or hospital expenses. It is said that Mr. Byeong-seok reversed his initial statement that ‘Sang-hoon asked me to go into the water first to make a bet’ and changed his statement to ‘Mr. Lee ordered me to go into the water.’

After a long period of persuasion from the production team, Byeongseok Jeong stood in front of the camera. He is said to have been deeply shocked by the death of his friend, whom he had met at a goshiwon when he was in his 50s, but whom he had been closer to than anyone else. What is the truth about the Okpo Port drowning incident that he revealed? Additionally, the true nature of the relationship between the three people and Mr. Lee’s hidden past and identity will be revealed on ‘I Want to Know That’, which airs at 11:10 pm on the 20th.

Minji Lee oing@ on the news

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