Korean Ex-President Jumps off Cliff

Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide by jumping off a cliff while hiking with a bodyguard near his home in Pusan on Saturday, The New York Times reports. The 62-year-old, who once prided himself on his squeaky-clean record, was questioned on April 30 for involvement in a corruption scandal for which some of the former leader's aides and family members have already gone to jail. Prosecutors believed that Roh solicited $6 million from a shoe manufacturer while he was president. In a manner consistent with Korean political etiquette, Roh expressed grave regret for his transgressions. On April 22 he posted on his website, "You should now discard me." Before his prosecutorial questioning, he told reporters, "I can't look you in the face because of shame." Roh, a former human rights and labor lawyer, came into power in 2002. He is known for negotiating a free trade deal with the United States (to mixed responses from his countrymen) and for reform. Early in his career, opponents impeached Roh for violating a minor election law, but the Constitutional Court over turned the case. The deceased's lawyer said that the corruption investigation had left the former leader in a state of anguish, and that he left a brief note before taking his own life. His wife and son survive him.