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Inn Owner Helps Prevent Group Suicide in Hongcheon

Posted April. 24, 2009 03:25,   


The owner of a pension in Hongcheon County, Gangwon Province, has prevented a group suicide attempted by five young people.

Hongcheon police said yesterday that they received a phone call around 7:25 p.m. Wednesday. The caller was the 50-year-old owner of a pension in Seo-myeon, and said she refused to rent a room to five young men and women who looked “suspicious.”

Suspecting a group suicide attempt, police sent text messages to some 1,000 lodging facilities under their jurisdiction, asking them to report if a group of three men and two women sought a room.

The police station established a mass text messaging system last year to prevent crimes.

Around 7:38 p.m., another owner of a pension reported to police that five people in their 20s checked into his hotel. Seven officers arrived about 20 minutes later to find the group having a barbecue and drinking in the front yard.

When the officers asked them to cooperate amid a spate of group suicides, the five said they were just picnicking there.

When asked to give their addresses, each of the five gave different cities: Ulsan, Gongju, Bucheon, Siheung and Cheongju. The officers then concluded that they were there to commit group suicide.

Police asked the five to open the trunk of their car, and found briquettes, a charcoal brazier, and duct tape, items used in a recent series of group suicides in Gangwon Province. The five eventually admitted to police that they did indeed seek to commit group suicide.

Police handed the five over to their families yesterday, saying they conspired to commit suicide together after meeting on an Internet suicide café.

“We were able to save their precious lives because we taught hotel owners how to report to police,” an officer said, adding preventive measures will be strengthened.

Police urged hotel owners to pay close attention to clients showing big differences in age, looking awkward due to lack of conversation, using rental cars, and carrying packages wrapped so that nothing inside is visible.