Baek Nam-gi, a 68-year-old farmer, was shot in the face by a police water cannon in November last year during during the largest antigovernment protest seen under the current Korean president Park Geun-hye. He passed away on Sunday at Seoul National University Hospital after 10 months in a coma.
After news of his death, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the hospital. Thousands of police officers were deployed to the area out of fear there would be more protests.
The controlling political party 'Saenuri-dang' is saying 'This is a tragedy caused by illegal violent protest' in an attempt to to shift responsibility from the police (and the government) to the protesters. However doctors have confirmed they believe the incident with the water cannon caused the brain injuries that resulted in his hospitalization and eventual death. The medical examiner was quoted as saying "it is difficult to deny that the water cannon blast had an impact on his death.”
His death has prompted calls for an official apology from the government and the police.
Alice is a former English teacher and current blogger hailing from New Zealand. After teaching in Busan for the past 2 years, she's now exploring new career options in Seoul.