By Kim Tae-jong
A Korail official has been found not responsible for the freezing to death of a homeless man whom he had forced out of a railway station.
The Seoul Central Court cleared the railway corporation official and his assistant Tuesday on charges of the abandonment of a person.
On Jan. 15, 2010, the 44-year-old station employee, Park, was patrolling around Seoul Train Station and found a drunk 44-year-old homeless man lying on the ground. The homeless man had broken his ribs after falling down.
Without knowing about the injury, Park ordered his assistant to drag him out of the station. He was found dead the next day after the temperature dropped to minus 6.5 degrees Celsius in Seoul.
The court ruled that ethically speaking their actions had caused the man’s death, but they were not culpable legally as rescuing people and saving lives were not part of their job.
“Their main duty is to ensure the safety of the station and part of this is to prevent the homeless from sleeping within the station,” a judge said in the ruling. “But they can’t avoid ethical criticism since they could’ve saved the life of the man if they had properly handled the situation.”