Tag Archives: crime

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Man Claiming To Be God Kills Neighbor With A Sword

by STEVE HAN

A man in Watertown, Wis. stabbed two people with a sword and killed one of them, according to local police.

Police charged Young Choi, 29, with first degree intentional homicide last Friday after the death of his neighbor, Dustin Vanderheyden. Choi allegedly killed him Thursday at their apartment. A witness saw Choi attacking Vanderheyden, 27, with the sword. Shortly after, he swung the sword at the witness and gave him a cut in his hand, according to the criminal complaint.

Vanderheyden was pronounced dead during surgery and police found Choi at the top of a stairwell and arrested him.

Before the fatal attack, Choi allegedly had been making bizarre comments for a week, saying that he is “God,” according to Vanderheyden’s wife’s testimony in the criminal complaint. Choi also allegedly told her that she should leave her husband to be with him and said he plans to stab him with a sword.

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Asian Americans Question Whether Race Played Role in UC Santa Barbara Killings

by JULIE HA

In the aftermath of the frightening rampage near the UC Santa Barbara campus on Friday that left seven people dead, including the suspected killer, some Asian Americans are starting to ask: What role did race play in his horrific incident?

That’s because Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old Santa Barbara City College student authorities identified as the killer, is of Asian descent on his mother’s side, and may have harbored some deep self-hatred of that Asianness, based on the chilling 140-page manifesto he left behind. In addition, three of his victims were Asian American, including his two roommates, whom he called “repulsive” and “the biggest nerds I had ever seen.” Authorities say Rodger killed them, along with a third Asian male who may have been a visitor, at their shared apartment before heading out in his car with his multiple, legally purchased guns and ammunition and seeking out additional targets. All six killed by Rodger were UCSB students. More than a dozen were also wounded in the incident.

“What Role Did Elliot Rodger’s ‘Eurasian’ Status Play in His Rampage?” read the headline of Korean American writer Philip Chung’s blog on the YOMYOMF website. “Elliot Rodger’s manifesto shows self-hate fueled anti-Asian violence that kicked off Isla Vista rampage,” wrote Asian American journalist Emil Guillermo on his blog on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s website.

Elliot Rodger was the son of Lichin Rodger, reportedly ethnically Chinese from Malaysia, and Peter Rodger, who is white and served as an assistant director on The Hunger Games. The Los Angeles Times reported that Elliot grew up privileged in the Southern California cities of Calabassas and Woodland Hills, and that his parents suspected he had some kind of autism spectrum disorder and had been in therapy since childhood. The newspaper also reported that Elliot had declined to take prescribed psychotropic drugs. The day of the killings, his parents, who are divorced, were apparently urgently trying to find their son, after reading a cryptic email he sent to them and one of Elliot’s therapists, the Times reported.

In Elliot’s manifesto, he described himself as a sexually frustrated young man who was being repeatedly rejected by women—in particular, the white, blonde women he coveted and whose attention he seemed to feel entitled to—and how angry he got when he witnessed “full-blooded” Asian males getting that attention.

“Rodger didn’t like being Asian, and he saw it as a flaw in his quest for women–especially his preference. The murderer preferred blondes,” wrote Guillermo in his blog. Guillermo cited comments like this in Rodger’s manifesto, which is full of both misogynistic and racist ranting:

I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl! And white girls are the only girls I’m attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them? I thought with rage.

Chung, in his YOMYOMF blog, notes that “Rodger seems to have completely tipped over to the other side—rejecting his Asianness while holding up his whiteness as something that should automatically give him access to what he thinks he rightly deserves, in this case, the blonde white women he’s attracted to.”

“Perhaps he was just another lonely and troubled man—a self-described “victim” who felt his only recourse was to lash out and blame everyone else for his situation instead of taking responsibility for his own misogyny, racism and misplaced sense of privilege,” Chung wrote. “But I think the truth is more complicated than that ….”

A complete list of the victims killed in the shooting can be found here: http://m.nydailynews.com/news/national/names-faces-elliot-rodger-victims-article-1.1805488

Editor’s Note: The links from this story were not working properly at the time this blog was filed. Here are the links referenced in this article, in the order they appear:

http://youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com/what-role-did-elliot-rodgers-eurasian-status-play-in-his-rampage/

http://aaldef.org/blog/elliot-rodgers-manifesto-shows-self-hate-fueled-anti-asian-violence-that-kicked-off-isla-vista-rampa.html

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/1780/article/p2p-80313778/

Photo via AP.

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Three Koreans Found Dead at Family’s Restaurant in Philippines

by RUTH KIM

Three Koreans—a married couple and their adult daughter—were found dead inside Han Ga Wi Restaurant in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City in the Philippines on Thursday night.

The victims, who authorities said were lying on the ground with stab wounds, were identified as Ho An, his wife Kim Soonok and daughter Young Mi An, according to various news sources in the Philippines. The family owned the restaurant, police said.

Another Korean identified as Kim Se Wong, the husband of Young Mi An, was also found injured at the site of the crime, according to Chief Conrado Manatad of Mactan Police Station. Kim was taken into police custody and was transported to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for treatment of several cuts on his wrists. He was found under the influence of alcohol, Manatad said.

Police are still investigating whether the wounds were self-inflicted by Kim Se Wong, if he was a targeted victim as well, or if he was involved in the crime.

There are varying media accounts of how the scene at the restaurant was discovered. One article reports that a Korean customer came to the restaurant, which opens daily at 10 a.m., and was surprised to find it closed at 6 p.m. The customer reportedly “checked” the restaurant and found bloodstains, and then immediately called police. Another article recounts a similar story; however, the customer who came by the restaurant is identified as male. It said that he and a guard nearby looked inside the restaurant to find the bloodstains and called the police.

A third account from Cebu’s Sun Star reports that the guard-on-duty, Sharon Inting, said that a Korean woman (not a man) who claimed to be a friend of the victims came to the restaurant around 5 p.m. The woman repeatedly knocked and called, finally asking Inting for help after no response.

Inting, who said that day was her first day of duty, went alone through the back door, which was found unlocked. She proceeded inside the premises, where she found blood on the floor and broken chairs in disarray.

According to the guard logbook, the outgoing guard Eborda Jr. recorded that he heard a commotion, a woman screaming, and objects breaking inside the restaurant at 2:23 a.m. He was reportedly unable to enter the restaurant due to locked doors. At 2:35 a.m., he recorded that no noise could be heard inside the restaurant.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Attack on 4-Year-Old Asian Girl at Walmart Deemed A Hate Crime

In an episode authorities described as “every parent’s worst nightmare”—and now, also a hate crime—a 4-year-old Asian girl was attacked by a tire-iron wielding woman at a San Jose Wal-Mart earlier this week.

The girl and her father were shopping at a Wal-Mart in the Little Saigon district of East San Jose on Tuesday morning, when Maria Garate walked up to the girl and struck her on the head with a tire iron, authorities said. The girl’s father then tried to cover his daughter with his body and was also struck with the tire iron. On-site security personnel detained the woman until police arrived and arrested her.

On Thursday Garate, a San Jose woman described by authorities as a transient, was in court facing attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon charges, as well as hate crime enhancements. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.

“Based on evidence we do have, the victims were targeted because they are Asian,” said Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Kalila Spain. “This is a premeditated, willful and deliberate act on her part.”

Spain said that the injured girl was taken to the hospital after the incident, but is now recovering at home.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that one source told the newspaper that Garate had expressed disappointment to authorities that she had not injured the girl more seriously.

Garate is being held without bail at Santa Clara County jail. Her next court date is May 23.

Photo via ABC 30 Action News.

 

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Teen Runaways Wrongly Accused of Killing Homeless Girl Remember Those Who Helped Free Them

Image via the Hankyoreh

The plot sounds almost too dramatic to be true. Four teen runaways are accused of killing another homeless girl and spend a year in prison for the crime. A higher court later overturns the conviction and rewards the teens hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation. But here’s the kicker to this story: The runaways later seek out the individuals who helped them during their darkest days as accused killers and thank them with generous donations.

Indeed, this is exactly how the real-life story played out for four runaway teenagers in South Korea convicted of inflicting injuries on a 15-year-old homeless girl who was later found dead in Suwon, South Korea, in 2007. Cho and the other runaway teenagers pleaded innocent to the charges, but authorities and even the teens’ families did not believe them.

Three years later, the Seoul High Court found the four not guilty and cleared them of their crimes. Each recently received around $213,000 for their unjust imprisonment.

That’s when they called Lim Nak, the 41-year-old social worker, who counseled them during their jail time and told him they wanted to donate 10 percent of their compensatory reward to the welfare center where he works. According to South Korean daily Hankyoreh, one of them told Lim, “Thanks for believing in us. We want you to use the money for young people like us who feel lost or have financial problems.”

“These kids are in a difficult financial situation,” Lim said. “I doubt that I would have donated the money if it were me. We will talk about how we can use the money to provide scholarships for young people in need.”

The teens said they wanted to donate to the only people that cared for them. Their total donation of about $21,400 will go to a home for single mothers and the welfare center. In addition, they also donated  about $5,800 to the Red Cross to benefit the families of the Danwon High School students who died in the Sewol ferry sinking.

“When we were arrested, we didn’t expect that the staff at the welfare center would believe our innocence,” one of the wrongly convicted teens, identified only as Cho, told Hankyoreh. She said she and the other three teenagers had written a letter to the welfare center from prison, professing their innocence and asking for the group’s help.

The staff at the welfare center then paid a visit to meet with the teenagers. After listening to their story, the counselors, led by the center’s directer Yu Sun-deok, spent the next three years supporting and helping them clear their names.

“It makes me angry that I went to prison at the young age of 18,” Cho said. “When I was arrested after running away, my father turned his back on me. I will never forget how the counselors paid attention to the stories of how hard our lives were.”

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Family Of Jiwon Lee To Launch Memorial Scholarship Fund In Her Honor

Image via Facebook

The family of Jiwon Lee, the 29-year-old Columbia University student found dead Saturday afternoon in the Hudson River, will be using the donations they received from a GoFundMe page to set up a memorial scholarship fund in her honor. The donations had originally been used to pay for a private investigator, and since the page went up in early April, nearly 1,200 people have donated over $87,000.

“Thank you for your continued prayers, donations and support,” Matt Lee, Jiwon Lee’s brother, wrote on Monday. “Unfortunately, Jiwon, beloved daughter, sister and friend has gone on to a better place. Our family thanks you at this time for respecting our privacy. We are currently planning a memorial service to honor Jiwon and will post further details as soon as possible.”

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Lee, a fourth-year dental student who had been missing since early April, had reportedly been suffering from depression and previously attempted suicide. The NYPD found her body floating in the Hudson River off of West 86th Street at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The cause of her death was still being investigated as of Sunday night, although police said they found a suicide note in her apartment. The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) released a statement upon learning of Lee’s death. She had served as the 2013-14 president of the organization, as well as serving as an appointed member of the American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examination. Before enrolling in dental school, Lee had been a middle school math teacher with AmeriCorps. She often noted that the experience helped to her leadership style. “Lee will be missed by the leaders, members and staff she touched during her involvement with ASDA,” the statement continued. To honor Lee at her memorial, her family is asking anyone who knew her to share funny memories and stories at weloveyoujiwon@gmail.com. You can find more information on the Jiwon Lee – Missing Person Facebook page. [ad#336]

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U.S. Seeks to Return Dictator-Linked Funds to SKorea

Photo via MBC News: Chun Doo-hwan (left) and his son Chun Jae-yong (right)

U.S. officials are seeking court permission to seize over $700,000 from the sale of a Southern California home linked to a former South Korean dictator and to turn it over to the Korean government, theAssociated Press reported.

Federal prosecutors filed a civil forfeiture complaint Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. They allege that Chun Jae-yong, son of former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, bought a home in Newport Beach, Calif., in 2005 with money his father received through bribes. After Chun Jae-yong sold the Newport Beach home in February for about $2.1 million, federal officials seized net sale proceeds of nearly $727,000 that were placed in an escrow account, according to the forfeiture complaint.

With court approval, the money will be returned to the South Korean government.

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The Chun family “laundered some of these corruption proceeds through a web of nominees and shell companies in both Korea and the United States,” a U.S. Justice Department statement read, according to AP.

 

AP noted that no information was available on whether the Chun family had retained a lawyer in the case, which had South Korean and U.S. prosecutors working together as part of the Justice Department’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

“The U.S. will not be a safe repository for assets misappropriated by corrupt foreign leaders,” the FBI’s assistant director Bill Lewis said in the Justice Department statement. “The FBI is committed to working with foreign and domestic partners to identify and return those assets to the legitimate owners, in this case, the people of the Republic of Korea.”

Chun Doo-hwan ruled South Korea as an unelected military leader from 1979 to 1988, following a bloody military 1979 coup. He was sentenced to death in the mid-90s for his role in the Gwangju Massacre, but was pardoned later by the Kim Young-sam administration.

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Light Sentences in Child Abuse Cases Trigger Public Outrage

The stepmother and biological father implicated in a child abuse case appear in court for their trials. 

Public outcry turned rampant Friday in South Korea when the court handed out relatively light sentences to parents convicted of beating their stepchildren to death, in two separate cases, according to the Korea Times.

A 35-year-old woman, only identified by her last name Lim, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after she fatally beat her 8-year-old stepdaughter in Daegu. Her daughter died two days later in the hospital.

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In Ulsan, a 41-year-old stepmother received a 15-year jail term for beating her daughter and breaking multiple ribs, one of which  pierced her lung and led to her death.

 

Prosecutors initially requested a minimum of 20 years in prison for Lim, while some protesters at the Daegu District Court even called for the death penalty. The deceased girl’s 12-year-old sister, who accused Lim of also beating her, asked the judge to hand out the death penalty in a handwritten letter.

Lim was convicted of beating her younger stepdaughter regularly until her death last October. When the girl died, she allegedly forced her older stepdaughter, identified by her last name Kim, to tell the police that Kim had kicked her younger sister and killed her.

The biological father of the two sisters, who is accused of also abusing his children, received a three-year sentence for negligence and other violations of the Children’s Welfare Law, the Korean newspaper reported.

The stepmother in the Ulsan case was convicted of killing her 8-year-old stepdaughter, also in October, by punching and kicking her repeatedly, apparently as punishment because the girl had asked to go on a picnic with her friends. An autopsy later showed that the young girl had 16 broken ribs, one of which pierced her lung.

The Korean Women Lawyers’ Association expressed its disappointment at the light punishment of the two women and demanded the prosecutors to appeal the court’s decision in both cases.

However, the court in Daegu ruled that there was no substantial evidence to prove that the stepmother intended to murder her stepchild.

Authorities and politicians alike have joined the general public to voice their concerns about South Korea’s recent track record of child abuse cases. According to Huffington Post Korea, 97 children died in South Korea over the last 12 years due to maltreatment.

“It’s deplorable that the nation has seen two brutal child abuse cases recently,” Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said. “These incidents prompted me to think that policies dealing with child abuse might have some loopholes.”

Chief policymaker Yoo Il-ho of South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party said: “We are embarrassed at seeing such brutal cases as our party took the initiative in passing the bill banning child abuse and calling for harsh punishment for those responsible for abusing children.”

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