Tag Archives: crime


South Korea’s Prime Minister Resigns Over Bribery Scandal

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo of South Korea formally resigned on Monday amid growing suspicions that he accepted an illegal cash donation from a businessman, reports the New York Times.

Lee offered to step down from his position last week, just two months after taking South Korean government’s No. 2 post. He is the second prime minister to resign under President Park’s rule. His predecessor, Chung Hong-won, had resigned after the Sewol ferry disaster.

“I have a heavy heart for leaving many things to be done to you and not completing the mission given to me,” Lee said in a brief farewell speech.

The prime minister has been at the center of a bribery scandal involving a the late construction tycoon Sung Wan-jong and eight high-profile political figures, mostly close associates of Park. Before committing suicide earlier this month, Sung, who was facing arrest on corruption charges, told a local newspaper that he gave 30 million won ($27,390) to Lee when he was running for a parliamentary seat in 2013.

Police also found a handwritten note inside Sung’s pocket that listed names of several government officials, including Lee, alongside numbers that allegedly indicate bribery sums.

Lee strongly denied bribery allegations, but the ruling Saenuri party pressured him to resign. According to Yonhap News Agency, the main opposition party, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, also threatened to impeach the prime minister over the scandal.

President Park accepted Lee’s resignation on Monday after returning from her South American tour. However, she has yet to announce Lee’s replacement.

The bribery scandal is a huge blow to Park’s government, which is still struggling to recover from public criticism of its poor handling of last April’s ferry disaster, which killed more than 300 people, mostly high school students.

Last week, thousands of demonstrators marched the streets of Seoul, protesting the government’s failures during the Sewol ferry tragedy. Riot police deployed water cannon and pepper spray to break up the crowds.

This past weekend, thousands of unionized workers rallied in cities nationwide to protest against President Park’s labor policies and plans to reform the pension system.


Featured image by Reuters/Kim Hong-ji

Subscribe to our daily newsletter


South Korea Charges a Woman with Attempted Rape for the First Time Ever

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A 45-year-old woman has been indicted for attempting to rape a man, making her the first woman to face such charges in South Korea, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said on Friday that the indicted woman, identified only by her surname Jeon, attempted to rape her 51-year-old ex-boyfriend after allegedly drugging him at her home last year.

The two first met at a bicycle club in 2011 and dated for four years, although the man was married at the time with children. When the man tried to break up with Jeon last August, she coerced him to meet her for the last time in her home, reports the Korea Times. There, Jeon allegedly served him tea spiked with Zolpidem, a potent sleeping pill.

Once he lost consciousness, Jeon stripped and shackled him to the bed with rope and towels, with the intention of having sex with him, said the prosecution. She also allegedly struck the man with a hammer after he suddenly woke up and tried to escape.

This is the first time a woman has been indicted for attempted rape in South Korea since the country revised its sex crimes law in June 2013 to recognize adult men as potential victims of sexual assault. Prior to the revision, only women could be legally defined as victims, making it impossible for male victims to press rape charges against their female assailants.

Women accused of sexual assault were usually charged with sexual molestation by force. While those convicted of rape face a minimum of three years in prison, the punishment for sexual molestation by force are much lighter.

Although South Korea has modified its criminal law to prosecute both male and female sex offenders, the current law still does not acknowledge women as rapists against adult women or female children.


Featured image via Yonhap

Subscribe to our daily newsletter


Four Dead in Hwaseong Shooting Spree

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A man armed with a hunting rifle fatally shot three people on Friday in a city just south of Seoul before killing himself, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Police said the shooting occurred in a two-story house located in the Hwaseong district of Namyang. Inside the first-floor living room, they found the bodies of the 75-year-old gunman, surnamed Jeon, his 86-year-old brother, his sister-in-law and a policeman, who was one of the first officers to respond to the call.

The daughter-in-law of the deceased couple managed to escape the shooting by jumping off the second story before alerting the police. She is currently being treated for minor back injury.

According to the neighbors’ testimonies, Jeon had a turbulent relationship with his brother. He would often get drunk and demand money from his brother’s family. One witness, who refused to be identified, said Jeon and his sister-in-law were arguing outside the house before the gunshots sounded.

In a news conference, Hwaseong police chief Lee Seok-kwon said a suicide note was found in Jeon’s car. He added that the slain officer, who was not wearing a bulletproof vest and was only armed with a tazer, tried to talk the gunman into surrendering and was fatally shot in the chest when he attempted to enter the house.

Civilians are rarely armed with firearms as gun possession is tightly controlled in South Korea. Only those with government-issued licenses can own guns, which are usually used for hunting animals. All guns are also required to be stored at police substations and are only given to licensed owners during legal hunting periods, according to the Associated Press.

The Hawseong police said Jeon took out a hunting rifle from the station about an hour before the shooting, saying that he would return it after he finishing hunting the next day. Officers said they noticed nothing suspicious about the man when he came to retrieve the gun.

The incident comes two days after another gunman shot and killed three people in the city of Sejong before turning the gun on himself.

South Korea’s National Police Agency said it plans to tighten regulations on gun control by limiting the number of police substations that give out firearms to licensed gun owners and requiring owners to renew their license by three years, instead of five years.

As of last January, there are about 160,000 legally owned firearms in South Korea. This figure includes hunting weapons and self-defense guns, according to the National Police Agency.


Featured image via Yonhap

Get our daily newsletter


Doctor Accused of Sexually Assaulting 12 Patients after Hooking Them on Painkillers

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A Pennsylvania doctor has been accused of getting 12 female patients addicted to prescription drugs and using their addictions as leverage to commit sexual assaults, reports the New York Daily News.

Dr. Jay J. Cho, 71, was arrested on Tuesday with multiple charges, including rape, aggravated indecent assault, criminal use of a communication facility and drug delivery by a practitioner, said the Hampden Township police.

Cho allegedly peddled powerful narcotics, such as Oxycodone, to the women for as long as five years in his offices in Cumberland and Franklin counties. After his patients became addicted to the narcotics, he baited them for sexual favors with refilled prescriptions, police said.

The majority of victims were afraid to reject the doctor’s sexual advances as they did not want to be cut off from the medications, according to the Upper Allen Township police report. The report further stated that “the manner in which Cho interacted with these patients was clearly outside the normal doctor and patient relationship,” as he would assault his patients when he sensed that they were “under extreme emotional stress from their personal lives.”

“Instead of a doctor helping or treating people with addictions, Dr. Cho was creating addicts and/or taking advantage of people with addictions for his own personal and perverted desires,” said Upper Allen Police Chief James Adams.

Agreeing with this sentiment, Hampden Township Police Chief Steven R. Junkin called Cho a predator who abused his power as a practitioner.

“There is no room in society for these predators and today, with endless hours, exhausting interviews, old fashioned hard work and interagency cooperation, we’ve hopefully removed this predator’s ability to ruin more lives,” Junkin said.

The Cumberland County Drug Task Force had kept tabs on Cho for several years after receiving information that he was a “candy doctor,” a practitioner who prescribes controlled drugs with little or no medical reason. In 2010, a patient filed a police report alleging sexual assault, but she never followed through with the complaint. Police re-launched the investigation when another female patient accused Cho of sexual assault in May 2014.

Once the victims’ medical reports were reviewed by a pain management expert, it quickly became clear that Cho had been severely overprescribing painkillers to each of his patients. His prescriptions far exceeded the amount of opiates found acceptable by national standards of care, according to the expert’s report.

Cho’s bail is set at $375,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. at Magisterial District Judge Kathryn Silcox’s office.


Featured image courtesy of Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

Get our dailynewsletter


Mexican Police Rescue 129 ‘Abused’ Workers in South Korean Factory

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Mexican authorities rescued 129 workers on Feb. 4, who claimed that they were exploited and physically abused at a garment factory run by South Koreans, according to Agence France-Presse.

After receiving an anonymous tip, authorities raided the company Yes International in the Mexican state of Jalisco and arrested four South Korean nationals after they were identified as the factory owners by workers, according to the National Migration Institute (INM). The four South Koreans are suspected to be gang of human traffickers, said Ardelio Vargas Fosado, an INM coordinator.

During the operation, the police rescued 121 women and eight men, including six minors who were 16 and 17 years old. According to Victor Manual Torres Moreno, a labor ministry official, the workers were subjected to physical and sexual abuse and toiled in unsanitary and dangerous working conditions, in which they were forced to handle materials that posed a fire hazard. They were also not given employment contracts or overtime pay, despite working more than eight hours per day with only 15-minute meal breaks.

Jalisco’s chief prosecutor, Luis Carlos Najera, told Korean news site SBS that authorities are currently investigating whether or not the factory owners committed child abuse or sexual crimes. Meanwhile, the underage workers were returned to their families. The Mexican police added that they are doing a background check on the minors’ family conditions.


Get our daily newsletter

Photo courtesy of AFP


Man Admits Slaying Ex-Wife, 4 Others with Samurai Sword and Bat

BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to five counts of murder in the samurai sword slayings and baseball bat beatings of his ex-wife, her two children, her boyfriend and a NASA engineer who was married to her cousin.

Jae-hwan Shim, 45, of Palmdale, entered the pleas after agreeing with prosecutors to testify truthfully against his best friend in the 2008 killings. In exchange, he’ll spend life in prison without chance of parole instead of facing a possible death sentence.

Shim, speaking through a Korean interpreter, said “I am guilty,” several times as the charges were read in Los Angeles County Superior Court.


Jae-hwan Shim (Photo courtesy of L.A. Sheriff’s Department)

He admitted murdering Jenny Young Park, 34, along with her 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and also pleaded guilty to arson for setting their bodies ablaze on a bed in the desert home they shared with Park’s cousin in Quartz Hill, 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Shim also acknowledged killing Park’s boyfriend, Si Young Yoon, 34, a tae kwon do instructor, and dumping his body in Mexico to make it look like he had committed the murders and fled.

Sheriff’s deputies were initially looking for Yoon in connection with the June 23 killings until Shim and Steve Kwon were caught in Mexico. Shim later gave authorities information that led to Yoon’s body, said Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman.

Shim also killed Joseph Ciganek, 60, who worked at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base and was married to Park’s cousin. Park and her daughter Jamie, 13, and son, Justin, 11, had moved into the Ciganeks’ home after she divorced Shim.

Silverman said the motive was anger and control.

“It’s a horrendous set of circumstances, one of the worst that I’ve seen,” Silverman said. “I don’t know how anything could be worse.”

Attorney Dan Kuperberg told reporters that the defense was motivated to settle the case after emotional family members of the victims urged a judge to speed up the trial last summer.

“Their pain was obvious and evident,” Kuperberg said, according to City News Service. “It affected all the lawyers. It affected Mr. Shim.”

Shim won’t be sentenced until after Kwon’s trial on five counts of murder and an arson charge. Kwon is not facing the death penalty but could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Kwon has pleaded not guilty and his trial has not been scheduled yet. He is due in court April 2.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Featured image courtesy of istock

Get our daily newsletter


South Korean Soldier Gets Death Penalty Over Killing His Comrades

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

A South Korean army deserter who fired shots at unarmed comrades near the country’s border with North Korea has been sentenced to death by the military court on Tuesday, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The 23-year-old sergeant, known only by his last name Lim, killed five and wounded seven of his comrades by detonating a grenade and firing shots in June of last year near the northeastern coast of South Korea. He also escaped from his unit with a rifle and a stash of ammunition before a siege by thousands of troops caught him.

At the time of the capture, Lim had botched a suicide attempt.

“Capital punishment is inevitable for such a hideous crime that shot the innocent,” said the chief judge of the general military court in a verdict. The judge also added that it “is necessary to hold [Lim] responsible for causing a security vacuum in military zones and to ring an alarm bell against brutal crimes.”

Lim claimed that bullying by his comrades motivated his rampage, which had been rejected by the court. A psychiatric test conducted on Lim in November showed that he was “generally normal,” although he was struggling to adapt to life during his military service, which is compulsory for all able-bodied men in South Korea.

One of the victims in the shooting was a staff sergeant in Lim’s unit. The military law in South Korea stipulates that a soldier could face capital punishment for killing a superior officer.

Lim’s defense lawyer said that he plans to appeal the ruling on the basis that the court dismissed Lim’s claims on being bullied.

Some 60 convicts are on death row in South Korea, but the country’s court hasn’t executed anyone since 1997.


Photo courtesy of Eto.cr.kr

Get our daily newsletter

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.13.07 PM

Scammers Caught on Dashcam Staging Car Crashes in S.Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Staging car accidents seem to the latest scam trend in South Korea, according to the Korea Observer.

Many Korean con artists have been extorting thousands of dollars by running towards stationary or slow-moving cars and pretending to be injured from a supposed car collision. These scammers usually target individuals who could be perceived as incompetent drivers by the police. That includes drivers who seem to be not paying attention to the road, traffic violators, student drivers, truck drivers and women.

Sophisticated scammers tend to work in teams, with one individual acting as the “victim” and other members serving as false witnesses. This setup usually forces the targeted driver to pay the con artist in order to avoid legal action.

According to the Korea Observer, one con group that was arrested in Cheongju earned about 541.45 million won (USD $491,095) from 81 staged crashes. That’s about 6.7 million won, or $6,077, per fraud.

Below is a compilation of car crash scammers caught on dashboard cameras: 

There is one fraudster who actually got run over by a car during his con. In the video below, you can see the scammer pretending to fall in front of a car driven by a Korean woman, who was checking for oncoming traffic as she was turning left. Oblivious to the scammer lying on the ground in front of her, the woman accidentally drives over him. She continues to drive on, believing that the man underneath her car is a speed bump.

Those found guilty of staging these accidents can face up to seven years in prison or a 15 million won fine.


Get our daily newsletter