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Did GNP Leader Attacker Act Alone?

Posted May. 22, 2006 03:01,   


What connection do Ji (50), who attacked Grand National Party (GNP) leader Park Geun-hye with a box cutter, and Park (54), the one who caused disturbance on the podium, have?

This and the motive for the crime are the biggest question marks the prosecution/police joint investigation team has to solve. If by any chance, the two suspects have some kind of a connection or belong to a certain organization, this case can be defined as a “political terror.”

Given that the two men have little in common, it is possible that there is little connection between them, but the investigation team plans to identify their relationship prior to anything else.

Who is Ji?-

According to the police, Ji is an orphan. When he was a high school boy, Ji found out that his mother (81) is not actually his birth mother, and has gone astray ever since.

Ji’s adoptive father died 20 years ago and the adoptive mother, who’s currently staying at a nursing home in Yongin, Gyeonggi, suffers from dementia. She used to run a snack bar in the red-light district in Incheon.

Ji dropped out of a community college in Incheon. In the mid 1990s, he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment plus seven years of probation and custody because of violence charges. In August last year, in his fourth year at the Cheongsong corrections center, Ji was released on parole. The suspect has eight previous convictions, including interference with the execution of public duties.

The suspect stayed at the Korea rehabilitation center in Incheon before he left the place in February saying that he “found a small place to live.”

An official from the rehabilitation center said, “His right eye is almost blind, and he is suffering from diabetes. He had such distrust in the society that even when he went to the hospital because of his eye during his stay at the Cheongsong corrections center, he refused medication, saying that they were trying to blind him.”

Ji moved his address to the house of a long-time acquaintance Choi, a pimp, because he needed a home address to get government subsidy money. However, he actually did not live there. Every month, he receives 180,000 won for a livelihood subsidy. Residents near the red-light district say, “Ji is an attractive man, usually wearing a suit. He liked to dance, so he used to go to cabaret bars.”

Ji also made an installment purchase of a 750,000 won DMB-receiving cell-phone (DMB stands for Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) on April 6, and called the rehabilitation center some 10 days prior to the attack to “borrow 10 kg of rice,” saying that he is “having a hard time living.”

In December last year, Ji caused another disturbance when the GNP was doing street protests against the revision of the private school law. He used his fists against more than 20 members of the party, including Rep. Gwak Seong-mun.

At that time, Gwak and other representatives did not want Ji to be punished, so the police closed the investigation without indicting him.

According to the police, the suspect showed deep mistrust in the opposition party, saying, “If Kim Dae-jung or Roh Moo-hyun weren’t elected president, I’d be dead by now.”

The police also said, “Ji said he stayed the night before the assault at a friend’s in Incheon, but didn’t reveal the friend’s identity, and is playing dumb to any other critical questions.”

Who is Park?-

Park is a member of Uri Party’s Seoul chapter. Since March 2004, immediately after the impeachment motion for President Roh was passed at the National Assembly, the suspect paid 4,000 won every month to the party.

Park reported himself to be a branch manager/executive director of a small telecommunication equipment business, and currently lives in Sadang-dong, Seoul.

On the day of the assault, he went to the wedding of a friend’s daughter, then went for lunch and a drink with his friends to a restaurant near the Hyundai Department Store in Sinchon. He told the police, “I saw GNP vehicles when I was coming out of the restaurant, so I ran to them and misbehaved. I am not acquainted with Ji.” When Park was taken to the police, the alcohol content in his blood was 0.137 percent, totally drunk after drinking more than one bottle of soju.

The police said that there is little evidence of them being accomplices given their reports and the investigation so far.

However, GNP officials stated that “right after Ji used his cutter, four or five people around him yelled, ‘kill her!’ and Park caused a disturbance on the podium after that.” Based on this, the GNP is looking into the possibility of a conspiracy between the two.