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No. of Crimes in Which Victims Were Lured Rise

Posted October. 05, 2009 08:20,   


A 47-year-old mother shudders when thinking of what could have happened to her six-year-old daughter last month.

Her daughter went missing while talking to an acquaintance at Dong Incheon subway station near Seoul. She was found six hours later with a 49-year-old homeless man, who had lured her into following him by promising to buy her cookies.

After being caught, he said, “I was planning to raise her as my child.”

The body of a 19-year-old girl who worked at a karaoke bar was found on a mountain near Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province. Her killer was a 26-year-old public worker on military service at Seoul’s Geumcheon District Office.

He visited the karaoke bar where the victim worked in July, and when he said he had no money, he got her to go to the mountain by saying, “If you come to my place, I’ll pay you 30,000 won (25 dollars) per hour.”

Amid rising public outrage over violent crimes against minors and women highlighted by the brutal rape of a young girl, the number of crimes in which victims were threatened or lured into following a criminal or being kidnapped or detained by their captors rose sharply over the past two years.

According to statistics submitted by the National Policy Agency to ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Chung Gap-yun for the parliamentary audit of the administration, the number of such crimes rose from 146 in 2005 to 262 last year and 320 through July this year.

The number of such crimes in the first seven months this year was 2.2 times larger than the figure for 2005. Over the four-year period, the number of five major crimes -- murder, robbery, rape, theft and violence -- increased 1.2 times at best, with some of them even dropping.

The number of arrests also significantly rose. The number of cases involving a suspect charged with such crimes was 136 in 2005, but it rose to 315 through July this year. The percentage of those being arrested in those cases jumped from 77.5 percent (203 cases) last year to 98.4 percent (315 cases) this year.

The rise in the numbers largely reflects heightened public awareness of such crimes after two young girls were kidnapped and killed in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, last year.

A police officer said, “Due to rising awareness on disappearances and kidnappings, cases that would not have been reported in the past are now being taken to the police. There are even cases where divorced wives report their husbands for threatening and luring their children into following him when he just took them without prior notice.”

Certain experts also say worsening economic conditions over the past two years have also played a role in the rise of such crimes.

Kwak Dae-gyeong, a professor of police administration at Dongguk University in Seoul, said, “Crimes that directly target people through threats or luring people into following them are usually committed by those pushed to the brink. The number of such crimes for financial gain seems to have increased due to the deteriorating economy in the aftermath of last year’s financial crisis.”

Experts say criminals in such cases usually target those whom the criminals have no grudge against and the result in most cases is violent crimes such as kidnapping and murder. Kwak said, “Such crimes deserve heavier punishment.”