North Korea 'killed and burned South Korean official'

A South Korean official has been shot dead and burned by North Korean troops, the South’s defence ministry said, condemning the “brutal act”.

Seoul said the man, who worked for the fisheries department, disappeared from a patrol boat near the border and was later found in the North’s waters.

North Korean soldiers shot him, then poured oil over his body and set it alight, the ministry said. It believed it was an anti-coronavirus measure.

Pyongyang has not commented.

The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent Covid-19 from entering the country.

The incident would be the second time North Korean troops have shot and killed a South Korean civilian. In July 2008, a tourist was shot by a soldier at Mount Kumgang.

What did South Korea say?

The official was on his patrol boat about 10km (6 miles) from the border with the North, near the island of Yeonpyeong, when he disappeared on Monday, the South Korean defence ministry said.

The 47-year-old father of two had left his shoes behind on the boat. It is believed he had been trying to defect, a rare but not unprecedented move.

A North Korean patrol boat found the man, who was wearing a life jacket, at sea at around 15:30 local time on Tuesday, Seoul added.

They put gas masks on and questioned him from a distance before “orders from [a] superior authority” came in that the man be killed. He was shot dead in the…

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