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Murderer of College Student Suspected of Killing Wife

Posted January. 29, 2009 07:03,   


Police yesterday said they have circumstantial evidence that a man who confessed to killing a 20-year-old girl in the southern Seoul suburb of Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province, might also have killed his fourth wife.

The murderer, identified only by his surname Kang, is found to have registered his marriage with her on Oct. 25, 2005, five days before she died in a fire. The two had lived together since 2002.

Just before their marriage, Kang went to an insurance agency with his wife to buy a general insurance policy on Oct. 17 and another for auto insurance a week later both under her name. She was also covered by two other insurance policies purchased one or two years ago.

The suspect collected insurance premiums because of fires, including 70 million won (68,467 U.S. dollars) for fire damage to his dump truck and store.

Police are reinvestigating the deaths of Kang’s fourth wife and her mother, suspecting that he might have committed arson and killed the two to collect insurance money.

▽ Probing other crimes

Police found three pieces of 15-20 centimeter long hair that appear to be a woman’s and a kitchen knife in Kang’s truck that he used at his barn in the southern Seoul suburb of Suwon.

Right after his arrest, a hoe and torch that he allegedly used in his crime at his farmhouse were found next to the barn.

A closer examination of the house led to the discovery of 20 pieces of evidence, including instant noodles and clothes, for further analysis.

The 100-square-meter cottage was built more than 20 years ago and is virtually uninhabitable. Inside the house were numerous tools and broken electronic appliances.

Kang reportedly visited the place a couple of times a week by riding luxury sedans.

“Strangely, his car was way too expensive given the size of the cattle shed,” said a resident living nearby the barn. “Though I asked him about it several times, he hardly answered.”

The barn and farmhouse are only 1.5 kilometers away from the Geumgok district of Suwon, where another college student went missing in January 2007.

▽ Possible destruction of evidence

Police confirmed that Kang formatted his hard drive several times just before his arrest. He even changed the computer system time prior to formatting.

Kang is suspected of destroying or hiding crime-related records since he erased data from his computer.

“An analysis on the computer shows it contained pornographic material,” a police officer said. “Kang, however, wouldn’t have been able to watch them since he usually used the computer with children around him.”

▽ Kang’s older brother apologizes

The brother of the murder suspect gave an apology in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. “I have nothing to say but sorry to the victim’s family and the people,” he said.

He sobbed and said he feels like going to the victim’s family right away and is willing to receive any punishment, adding, “My brother will have to pay for his horrendous crime. There will be nothing to say even if he receives the death penalty.”

“I had no inkling of what my brother did. Perhaps his mind was completely devastated at a young age while meeting many women without being able to start a family.”

The victim’s funeral was held yesterday morning with some 50 people attending at Wonkwang University Sanbon Hospital in Gunpo.

starsky@donga.com zozo@donga.com