It has all the elements of the classic regicidal murder yarn.
There is the once-trusted aide who shoots the president. He in turn, is betrayed by one friend, the president's secretary, and tricked into being arrested by another. In the climax, the suspect general rumored to have been involved turns out to be the hero whose signal brings the villain down.
These are the key ingredients of the latest and apparently final official account of the assassination of president Park Chung Hee.
Released today by the martial law command, it discloses many new details of the killing and the killer but conforms in most ways to an interim version.
It gives explanations that plug some holes and concludes, with emphasis, that the South Korean military was not involved.It exonerates Gen. Chung Sung Wha, the martial law commander who was near the scene of the slaying and whose aides were in charge of preparing the report.
It also provides a motivation for the alleged assassin, former Korean Central Intelligence Agency director Kim Jae Kyu, who had been a friend and confidant of Park for many years.
The report says Kim had been thinking of slaying the president since June and had developed "illusions" that he should take power. He got his chance Oct. 26 when Park insisted on having dinner with him.
The following picture of the slaying and the aftermath emerge from the martial law command's report:
The immediate trigger was Park's displeasure with Kim's handling of the powerful KCIA in recent months as domestic pressure built against Park. The president had sent him a warning letter and at the dinner table suggested that the student riots at Pusan the week before resulted from KCIA incompetence.
After three trips in and out of the room to set up the plot, Kim suddenly turned on the president and his chief bodyguard, whom he dispised and thought was out to get him. "With this worm-like bastard [the bodyguard], how could you run a good government?" he asked Park. Then he pulled a pistol out of a pocket and shot both men.
Two women in the room rushed to aid the president, who had slumped to the floor. "I am all right," Park told one of them in what were apparently his last words.
Earlier, Kim had set the stage. His friend at the dinner party was Kim Kae Won, the president's chief secretary, and they had discussed the unpleasantness of the bodyguard together. "He is a headache for me, he is so arrogant," said Kim Kae Won. "So I will finish him off tonight," replied Kim Jae Kyu. The report does not say if the accused assissin told him of plans to kill Park, too.
Earlier, Kim had drawn Gen. Chung, the army chief of staff, to the scene by inviting him for dinner -- a gesture that may have been intended to convince five associates that the Army was supporting him.
Chung dined in another room of the KCIA compound about 150 feet from the place where Park, his bodyguard, and five other presidential bodyguards were shot. Chung heard the fusillade and sent an aide to ask police what happened.
Kim Jae Kyu came running out without shoes or coat, grabbed the general's arms, and said: "Big things have happened." They got in a car and headed for another set of KICA offices in Seoul. Finally, with a gesture of his thumb, Kim indicated the president was dead but said nothing about having shot him. "It is certain that he is gone," said Kim.
They wound up in an Army command bunker where Chung, fearing a foreign attack was taking place, summoned to top military leaders and ordered military units in Seoul on alert.
Kim tried to hoodwink all of them into them into declaring martial law, which he expected to lead to the creation of a revolutionary millitary committee that would take over the government. He told the military leaders and the Cabinet members only that the president was dead -- not that he had shot him. Twice, he rose out of his chair as if to threaten them physically.
Then Kim Kae Won -- who knew what had happened but who had told no one about it -- appeared and Kim Jae Kyu told him to keep silent, explaining during a conversation in a bathroom his plans for a revolutionary military takeover. Kim Kae Won assented.
The whole group of leaders moved to bigger quarters at the Ministry of Defense. Two civilian officials opposed issuing martial law orders without giving some reason for it, but Kim Jae Kyu opposed announcing that the president was dead.
At that point, Kim Kae Won began to suspect that the revolutionary idea was going no place and he finally told Chung and Defense Minister Ro Jae Hyun that Kim Jae Kyu had assassinated the president.
Chung returned to the Army bunker to organize Kim Jae Kyu's arrest. He sent a message back to the Defense Ministry saying he wanted to meet with Kim Jae Kyu, who was arrested by military police when he stepped into a waiting car.
Martial law was annouced early the next morning with a notice that Park had met with an accident and had become incapacitated. It was not until 7:30 a.m. -- nearly 12 hours after the slaying -- that authorities announced Park was dead.
The report concludes that there was no involvement in the plot by the military or any external powers. It called it a murder case" by someone who wanted to become president and suffering from illusions that he should become president.
Eight men are to be tried by a military court martial. They are Kim, Jae Kyu, for killing the president and the bodyguard; Kim Kae Won, for knowing of the plot but failing to stop it; five Kcia associates who killed Park's bodyguards, and an unnamed eighth person who is accused of trying to destroy evidence.