South Korea Monday told 19 former hostages to pay some of the costs of their rescue from Afghanistan's Taliban, amid increasing criticism of the ill-fated trip by the Christian aid workers.
President Roh Moo-Hyun "instructed his cabinet to exercise the government's indemnity right on strictly legal grounds," said his spokesman Cheon Ho-Seon.
Cheon has said the government will recoup expenses including air fares and the cost of bringing back the bodies of two murdered hostages.
Yu Kyeong-Sik, spokesman for the group of former captives, apologised repeatedly on their arrival in Seoul Sunday. "We owe the country and the people a great debt," he said.
The church group undertook the trip in defiance of foreign ministry warnings. Before departure it was pictured posing with an airport notice warning against travel to the Central Asian nation.
"By ignoring the government's warning and rashly carrying out a mission in a politically unstable Muslim country, the captives have laid a great burden on their country," JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said.
Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2007, 14:43