Posted March. 17, 2010 08:29,
More than 200 sex crime suspects are at large in Korea even after being suspected of sexual assault, the National Police Agency said yesterday.
Of 643 sex crimes under stay of prosecution, the number of rape suspects was 215 as of late last month, an agency source said.
Stay of prosecution refers to a halt to an investigation because of the inability to locate suspects or witnesses, though such a criminal case meets the requirement for indictment and adequate evidence exists for indictment.
The number of sexual violence cases reached 18,351 cases last year, with rape accounting for 10,215. Suspects in just 9,167 of the crimes were arrested, and as many as 1,048 cases remained unresolved.
Of these, the identities of the suspects in 833 crimes remain unconfirmed, while suspects in 215 cases are under probe though they were identified.
A police source said, The number of suspects in the 215 cases under stay of prosecution is an estimated 200.
One man often sexually assaults multiple women, and thus the number of suspects under prosecution is generally about 10-15 percent fewer than that of sex crimes reported.
Kim Kil-tae, 33, the suspect in the rape and murder of a teenage girl in Busan, was under stay of prosecution on the charge of raping a 22-year-old woman in late January. With police inactive in their probe into his case, Kim apparently received the opportunity to rape again.
Likewise, police are considered to have grown negligent in their probes under stay of prosecution if they fail to arrest sex crime suspects over a certain period even after identifying them.
Hence, a growing number of experts warn that sex offenders who are on the wanted list can commit more crimes anytime they want.