The authorities in South Korea have said that the government official killed by North Korean sailors had attempted to defect because he had gambling debts.
Senior coast guard officer Yoon Seong-Hyun said at a televised briefing that there was a “very low possibility” that the man could have fallen from a ship or tried to kill himself because he was wearing a life jacket when he was found in North Korean waters last week.
Yoon said the man had conveyed his wish to defect before his death.
The officer cited intelligence showing North Korea knew the man’s name, age, height and hometown as evidence of his communication with the North.
But the precise circumstances of how the man died to remain unclear.