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Lieutenant Nam Said of His `Memories of Murders`

Posted May. 12, 2003 22:10,   


Watching movie `The Memories of Murders` enjoying great popularity, Nam Sang-guk, lieutenant of homicide department at Hawsung Police Station in Gyeonggi-do, says he feels bitterness.

He was assigned to head Taean branch office of Hwasung Station in 1988 and later sent to the station in 2000, where he worked for ten years. He was involved in the serial murderer case for 12 years all told.

˝The movie was apparently made to draw moviegoers, and I have nothing to say about it. Yet, I feel sorry that there is little seriousness in the story about the tragic case,˝ Nam said.

Since a 25-year-old woman was found strangled to death with her hands tied behind the back at a waterway near a rice field in Taean-eup, Hwasung City in October 1986, some 10 women had been killed in a similar way over the following 5 years. With up to 1.8 million police workforce injected into the search for the serial killer, however, the case still remains unsolved.

˝Some 130 detectives from every part of the country formed a joint investigation team, and we used to stay up all night,” he said.

Too eager to catch the murderer, detectives resorted to excessive means, which only backfired. They used force during the interrogations to get false confessions, but suspects were soon released with the lack of evidence.

˝He was only a sexual assaulter,” said Nam of the young man described as the most likely suspect in the latter part of the movie. ˝He was such a fragile man that he got so scared after beaten a few times and confessed he killed the women,˝ Investigators even collected pubic hairs of some 800 suspects.

Who is the murder, then? ˝I think the old man can be the one given the killer left three pieces of white hairs on the scene and there was a witness seeing him carrying a little girl,˝ Nam pointed out that 67-year-old Kim found dead in an empty house in Suwon in 1997 is the most likely suspect.

With investigative technology at that time, however, they could not compare the DNA of the murderer and that of Kim. Looking back, he said that the investigation team should not have focused on a young man in his 20s who once served as a national guard and should have paid more attention to old men.

˝I did my best,˝ said Nam, who spent two thirds of his 17-year career on the serial murder case. As he said, however, his eyes looked as penetrating as ever.