Go to contents

Robbery Suspect In Custody Along With Stolen Firearms

Posted December. 13, 2007 03:07,   


Authorities on Wednesday arrested the suspect who robbed two soldiers of military firearms near a post in Ganghwa Island, Incheon. They also found all the weapons the suspect took, closing the manhunt in a week.

The taskforce investigative unit consisting of civilian and military law enforcement agencies nabbed a male suspect, only known by his last name Cho, 35, in Jongno-gu, Seoul, at around 2:55 p.m. Wednesday.

Incheon Police Commissioner Kim Cheol-ju, who leads the taskforce, confirmed same day, “We lifted fingerprints on a letter [Cho] had sent to us. Cho’s wounds from the struggle during the robbery and cell phone call log support our profiling.”

After conducting a preliminary investigation, investigators said Cho confessed to his crime after a long period of silence. However, Cho still keeps the fifth concerning his motive.

According to the authorities, Cho, worked for an interior decoration company, doesn’t have any previous criminal records. Unlike the initial belief of the authorities, he was not a member of the elite military forces. He just finished his mandatory military service at an artillery unit in Paju City.

Prior to the arrest, the police found at around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday the stolen weapons under a bridge in Jangseong County, South Jeolla Province, which is located near the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula.

An officer on the taskforce told reporters, “We found a K-2 rifle and a clip loaded with 15 rounds. We also discovered one grenade, 60 rounds, and 6 RPG rounds at a spot about 20m apart from the first spot. We checked the serial numbers with those of the stolen weapons, and they matched.”

At around 5 p.m. on Monday, a post office worker found a letter dropped in a post box located near the Yeonsan Post Office in Busan on which a message was written, “I am the gun robber.” Upon the report, the authorities collected and examined the letter.

Cho in the letter told authorities that he had dumped the weapons near the Baekyang Highway Rest Area. Police mobilized 1,000 officers and began to search for them at around 8 p.m. on Monday. After searching about 12 hours, the weapons were finally found.

Cho is suspected of having run over two Marine soldiers near a market in Ganghwa Island, Incheon, and stabbed them with a knife to steal the weapons.

fineday@donga.com goqud@donga.com