Tag Archives: murder

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Two Dead in Las Vegas Murder-Suicide

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

A woman and man died last Thursday evening in an apparent murder-suicide, according to the Las Vegas police.

Jiyeon Lee, 23, and Won Jae Lee, 26, were identified by the Clark County coroner’s office. They were found dead together in their home after a friend came by after not hearing from one of the victims in three days. Officers responded around 5 p.m. to 8900 block of Veneroso Street to investigate.

“It was a shock to pull up to the house and the whole neighborhood was quarantined,” said neighbor Damion Grau. “Nothing like this happens in this neighborhood.”

Police said that the two victims were dating, and it appeared a physical altercation had preceded the shooting in the home’s garage, according to the evidence found inside the home. They believe the woman shot the man in the head and neck before shooting herself in the head.

Photo courtesy of Review Journal

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UPDATE: Three Men Arrested in Homicide of University of Georgia Student

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

UPDATE: Athens-Clarke County Police arrested a third person allegedly involved in the homicide of Min Seok Cho. Locas Amsler Raposo, 20, is charged with felony muder, tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Like Cho, Raposo is a University of Georgia student set to graduate in 2016.

Athens-Clarke County police have arrested two men for their role in the homicide of a University of Georgia student, according to the Red and Black.

Min Seok Cho, 21, was fatally shot in the head during a marijuana deal that reportedly went bad on Jan. 13, said the police. Cho was pronounced dead at the Athens Regional Medical Center, where a private vehicle brought him to the ambulance bay doors of the emergency room before driving away.

Cormaine Gross, 21, and Andre Ruff, 18, will face charges including felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of the felony, according to the Athens-Clarke County Clerk office. The still ongoing investigation is being conducted by ACC Police, University of Georgia Police, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Clarke-County Coroner’s Office.

MugshotCormaine Goss, left, and Andre Ruff. Photo via Athens-Clarke County Police Department

Eric Yi, a friend of Cho and fellow student at UGA, told Athens Banner-Herald that his roommate was with Cho at the time of the shooting. The roommate came home with blood on him, and after cleaning up, went to the hospital, where he met with police.

Cho was a graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, where his family also resides. Yi said that Cho was passionate about international affairs and current events, and he had expected Cho to graduate next year with a degree in international studies.

“He was a good guy,” Yi told the Banner-Herald. He was soft-spoken in groups, but when he was with friends he was more boisterous and loved to hang out.”

Cho is the second University of Georgia student to die this week. A 19-year-old student was found dead in the back seat of a car after returning home after a night out with friends last Saturday.

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Featured image via Athens Banner-Herald

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Defector Kills 4 People in China After Fleeing North Korea

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han
steve@iamkoream.com

A North Korean army deserter allegedly shot and killed four elderly residents as well as robbed a villager’s home in the border town of Nanping, China after escaping his country, according to local media reports.

The alleged killings reportedly took place on Dec. 28 at a village near the Tumen River, an area that has been used as an escape route for North Korean defectors for decades. The soldier was later arrested by the Chinese authorities, and it is unlikely he will be repatriated to North Korea given the severity of his crimes.

China is a common route for many North Korean defectors as they often cross into a third country before seeking asylum at the nearest South Korean embassy. The defectors caught by the Chinese authorities are often sent back to North Korea, where they would likely suffer cruel punishments in prison camps.

Since the killings, China has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint with North Korea, according to the country’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

“China’s public security bureau will handle the case according to law,” Hua said, hinting that the army deserter will be prosecuted in China.

The Foreign Ministry gave no additional details about the incident, but South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the suspect injured another Chinese resident of the village in Nanping in addition to killing four in their homes. The soldier reportedly broke into the home of the resident– identified only by his surname Che–ate his food, stole about $16 and wounded the man before making his escape. Reports in China, citing the head of the village, also said that the four people killed were two elderly couples, who lived alone and had children working in South Korea.

In 2013, another North Korean defector killed an elderly Chinese couple in Yanji before stealing $3,210.

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Photo courtesy of AFP

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‘Serial’ Revisits Murder of Korean American Teen

By SUEVON LEE | @suevlee
suevon@iamkoream.com

The Oxford English Dictionary may have recently released its “Word of the Year,” but the one buzzword on everybody’s lips these days seems to be “Serial.”

For those just hearing about it, Serial is a weekly podcast from the producers of This American Life whose first season has focused on a decade-and-a-half-old murder that took place in Baltimore County, Maryland.

The story centers around the death of Hae Min Lee, who was a senior at Woodlawn High School when she disappeared the afternoon of Jan. 13, 1999. Her body was found a month later in a city park; the 18-year-old had been strangled.

Implicated in the crime was Lee’s fellow classmate and ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who, following a jury trial in Baltimore, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to a life term behind bars, where he remains today in a maximum-security prison.

Journalist Sarah Koenig embarked on a yearlong investigation into the crime after a close family friend to Syed, convinced of his innocence, urged her to revisit the details of the incident, treated by authorities as a closed case.

First airing in early October—and available for streaming and download starting with Episode One—Serial seeks to answer the many questions that have confounded Koenig, the show’s narrator and host, since she began her investigation last year.

The ongoing podcast is a work-in-progress: Koenig continues to report and uncover new facts in real time, with each new hourlong episode airing every Thursday. The compelling part of the program is the conversational style of narration and its pacing. Koenig has said in interviews she doesn’t actually know the truth, whether Syed is guilty or not—in each new installment, she unearths some new detail or revelation that plants new doubts.

Avid listeners of the show—who have helped Serial average 1.26 million downloads per episode and become the fastest iTunes podcast to top 5 million downloads—are invited into Koenig’s repeat telephone conversations with Syed, speaking to her from prison, plus interviews with friends and classmates of Lee and Syed, in addition to the narrator’s personal ruminations about the complex web of allegations the case entails.

While there is no dispute the series has become a national obsession, it’s the program’s treatment and interpretation of its characters’ respective cultures that has touched off a feisty debate in recent days.

Lee’s parents are Korean immigrants while Syed is Pakistani American who was raised in a Muslim household. Described on the podcast as carefree, typical teens, Lee and Syed, we learn, were wrapped up in the usual teenage pursuits such as after-school track practice, homecoming dances, down time with friends, driving to the mall, after-school jobs—and clandestine dating to evade parental notice.

Their ethnic backgrounds are referenced early on, but never dominate the frame, so to speak.

Former Grantland writer and editor turned New York Times Magazine contributor Jay Caspian Kang, in an essay published on The Awl last week, argues that the podcast is problematic because it involves “an immigrant story” told by a white journalist whom Kang argues comes across as “a cultural tourist” in the ultimate example of “white privilege in journalism.”

While Kang writes he is willing to cut the episodic podcast “enough slack to regard it as an experiment in form,” he adds: “I am still disturbed by the thought of Koenig stomping around communities that she clearly does not understand, digging up small, generally inconsequential details about the people inside of them, and subjecting it all to that inimitable This American Life process of tirelessly, and sometimes gleefully, expressing her neuroses over what she has found.”

That piece, and like-minded criticism published elsewhere, led to this rebuttal published by the New York Observer, in which writer Lindsay Beyerstein poses the question, “So, why is there a cottage industry of think pieces dedicated to making us feel guilty about liking Serial?” Beyerstein argues that Koenig as narrator, if anything, subverts listener stereotypes and challenges their assumptions about the minority characters.

Rabia Chaudry, the woman who initially contacted Koenig about Syed’s circumstance, also added her two cents about the podcast’s treatment of race in this Q&A, saying: “The fact that the Serial team is all white means that maybe they won’t quite get some things about Korean culture or our [Muslim] culture, but so what? Then we explain it.”

Whatever your views on this thread of conversation—for most people, Serial is just a compelling, expertly produced true crime narrative–some omitted elements to the story seem hard to ignore. For instance, where is Lee’s family in the story?

Part of that question may have been addressed this week when a person professing to be Hae Min Lee’s younger brother acknowledged the series’ explosive popularity in a Reddit post.

“To you listeners, its another murder mystery, crime drama, another episode of CSI. You weren’t there to see your mom crying every night, having a heartattck when she got the new that the body was found, and going to court almost everyday for a year seeing your mom weeping, crying and fainting,” the post reads. “You don’t know what we went through.”

Nevertheless, the post’s author is honest about his reaction to the podcast. “Although I do not like the fact that SK [Sarah Koenig] picked our story to cover, she is an awesome narrator/writer/investigator,” the post reads.

In the meantime, Syed is appealing his conviction by arguing his trial attorney showed ineffective assistance of counsel. The state’s case against Syed rested mainly on the testimony of a friend who claimed he helped Syed dump Lee’s body in Baltimore’s Leakin Park.

We don’t know whether Serial, which aired its ninth episode Thursday, and plans at least several more episodes before concluding the season, will ever broach the family angle—but we know if it does not, it’s not for apparent lack of effort.

“It’s an upsetting story. A girl was murdered and it’s horrible,” host Koenig told Time in an interview in late October. “Getting people to talk to me about that and be honest with me about that is hard. For a lot of these people, even those not directly involved, this was the defining horror of their lives. It’s hard for them.”

The Baltimore Sun, which initially covered Lee’s murder and Syed’s conviction 15 years ago, circled back to the tragic saga in an Oct. 10 article, recalling that at Syed’s sentencing in 2000, Lee’s mother, Youn Wha Kim, told the court via an interpreter that she had moved to the United States from Korea to provide her children “a decent education and a decent future.”

“‘I would like to forgive Adnan Syed, but as of now, I just don’t know how I could,’” the Sun reported her saying. “‘When I die, my daughter will die with me. As long as I live, my daughter is buried in my heart.’”

To catch up with the beginning of Serial, start here.

Photo courtesy of WBALTV

Lifelike Sex Dolls

South Korean Cops Mistake Sex Doll For Murder Victim

by REERA YOO

Police rushed to a temple garden in Gyeonnggi Province after receiving a call about a bound female corpse, but upon closer examination, they discovered that the “corpse” was actually an inflatable doll.

According to BBC, a witness was picnicking in the park with his family when he saw what appeared to be a dead female body sprawled near the waterway. The body was tied up with denim fabric and blue tape and seemed to have been a victim of a brutal murder.

Around 50 officers arrived at the potential murder scene and were surprised and equally relieved to find the alleged corpse to be a life-size inflatable sex doll.

“The skin texture [was so] similar to that of an actual person that when the policeman touched it, he mistook it for a human body,” a police source told The Dong-A Ilbo.

Officials said the doll is an import from Japan that is sold in adult stores. Sex dolls are supposedly also found in brothels, since it ambiguous whether or not the “doll experience” violates South Korea’s anti-prostitution laws.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images and BBC. 

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OC Resident Kills Army Veteran And Disposes Her Body In A Canyon

by STEVE HAN

A jury found Kwang Chol Joy guilty of one felony count of second degree murder after the 55-year-old Santa Ana man was convicted of murdering his Army veteran roommate and disposing her body in a canyon, according to the Orange County District Attorney office.

Joy had been living at his home in Orange with his roommate Maribel Ramos, a 36-year-old Army veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq. Ramos was also a student at California State University, Fullerton.

The two were reportedly arguing over Joy’s unpaid rent. Joy murdered Ramos sometime between May 2 and May 3 of last year and disposed her body in Santiago Canyon, the press release said. Joy is facing a maximum of 15 years to life in state prison.

Ramos was last seen alive on surveillance camera as she was dropping off a rent check at the manager’s office. The Orange Police Department began investigating on May 3 when her friends reported her missing.

On May 16, police found the victim’s body in a shallow grave after Joy was seen at the Orange Public Library & History Center where a computer he used showed that he conducted several web searches about the human body decay process and used a satellite map website to zoom in on a location of Santiago Canyon.

Joy was arrested at the police station on May 17.

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KAC-LA’s Sponsored Post: Who Killed Koreatown?

Who Killed Koreatown?

The redistricting lawsuit by five Koreatown residents against the City of Los Angeles picks up and heads to trial.

The fight against the gross injustice committed in the last redistricting process that split the Koreatown district of Los Angeles in half will head to trial this fall. As a community with high poverty levels and limited English proficiency, Koreatown residents desperately need a political representative to voice their concerns. Yet, two years ago, the city completely ignored the public on redistricting and manipulated district lines behind closed doors, splitting Koreatown into two districts and depriving residents of any chance for representation. Today, Koreatown still lacks community centers, parks and other basic necessities. This led five Koreatown residents to file a lawsuit against the city, with the trial taking place this fall.

Over the years, Koreatown has grown from a quiet ethnic enclave into a booming cultural mecca. Koreatown began as a small cluster of Korean immigrants in the 1950s. It is now home to approximately 100,000 people. As a community, Koreatown, composed of different ethnicities living in one of the densest neighborhoods in the United States, has experienced both successes and shortfalls.

In 2012, the city’s redistricting commission voted to split Koreatown across two separate districts, despite thousands of residents advocating to keep Koreatown in one district throughout the hearing process. Instead of drawing district lines based on population changes and communities of interest, the commission manipulated district boundaries to influence future council elections.

This illegal act of gerrymandering deprived the residents of Koreatown of being able to elect their own representatives who would be able to address the special needs of the community.

Important Dates:
• Tuesday, September 9: Motion for Summary Judgment
• Tuesday, October 14: Trial Start Date

The Korean American Coalition is raising funds for expert fees and deposition costs to help the Koreatown plaintiffs win the lawsuit. To learn more, please go to www.whokilledkoreatown.com to learn more about the redistricting lawsuit and how you can help.

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This post was sponsored by KAC-LA, which is part of KoreAm’s Community Network, a section reserved for local and national nonprofit organizations. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of KoreAm.

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KAC-LOS ANGELES (KAC-LA)
Korean American
Coalition-Los Angeles

“Educating, Organizing and Empowering”
Founded in 1983, KAC’s mission is to advocate the civic, civil rights, leadership, legislative and political
interests of the Korean American community. KAC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization. Annual membership dues are $50 for regular members and $25 for students and senior citizens. Other sponsorships are also available.

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t: (213) 365-5999
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Chair
Susie Oh

Vice President of Administration
Justin Kim

Vice President of Marketing
Patrick Kim

Vice President of Programs
Jaime Lee
Secretary
Janny Kim
Treasurer
Michael Bai
Ricky Seung

HONORARY BOARD
Yong Hwan Kim
Dr. David Lee

ADVISORY BOARD
Joe Ahn
Judy Chang
Peter Jung
Alexander C. Kim
CJ Kim
Jeanine Kim
Jenee Kim
Andrew Lee
James Lee
Suzan Lee Paek
Jeanne Min
Jong Hwan Park
Lucy Park
Shinnae Sung
Dr. Gilbert Whang
Dr. Michael Whang
Bernard Yoo

KAC STAFF
Grace Yoo
Chris Lee
Andy Yoo
Samantha Lee

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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.