| Kim Yeong-oh, father of ferry Sewol sinking victim Kim Yu-min, is on hunger strike for the 44th day on Tuesday demanding for legislation of special Sewol law. He hinted at taking legal action against the dispute over a unqualified father, saying, "It is a slanderous suspicion."
The disputes arose when Yu-min`s maternal uncle posted a message on a news article on Sewol. Rumors have been swirling that Kim didn`t send childrearing cost after divorce while enjoying luxury sports gukgung, which resulted in bad family relations. Personal attack and criticism postings spread online thereafter and Kim Yeong-oh strongly refuted the speculations via his Facebook account Tuesday.
On childrearing cost, Kim wrote, "I couldn`t send money when I was economically strained for a while but continued to pay insurance premium. For the past three to four years, I have been paying mobile phone fees for my ex-wife and children." He showed his bank account record as evidence. He explained that he started gukgung less than two years ago with monthly fee of 30,000 won (about 29 U.S. dollars), saying that when he played gukgung he was paying childrearing and insurance fees for his children at the same time. Kim also posted friendly messages he exchanged with his children through KakaoTalk, saying, "Could I have had an intimate tie if I was an irresponsible father who neglected my children?" He said, "I have prepared materials to respond to false information," adding, "I will start taking legal action from today."
Park Joo-min, attorney for families of Sewol tragedy, told the Dong-A Ilbo in a phone interview, "On the part of the Korean Bar Association, we will analyze the postings on social network services and Internet boards to press charges against extreme messages for defamation of character and insult," adding, "We will take into account all including media."
There are pros and cons on Kim`s radical comments while on hunger strike. At a video recorded by a progressive media on Aug. 8, Kim was looking toward the Presidential Office, saying, "To me, it looks like a lousy house. It is no better than the Nanjido, where all sorts of rubbish reside." He has expressed many times explicit hostile feelings against the government.
One college student who said Kim`s words and actions were uncomfortable said, "It is a pity that he is using a personal problem politically." However, some say people should understand the feelings of a parent who lost a child. One woman said, "His radical remarks came because no one was listening to the families of Sewol victims. I think it is natural for Kim to become emotional and to say such words."