A woman in her 40s was abducted on the way home and consequently found dead. It was in front of an apartment complex in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam, Seoul that it happened. Two days after the crime took place, last Friday, three suspects were arrested by the police. However, the victim had already been murdered and disposed of. A security camera captured the three suspects forcing the woman, who was desperately resisting, into a car parked beforehand by the road.
The incident is one of the most shocking news in many ways. First, kidnappings, even if they often occur, rarely result in murders. Secondly, the woman was abducted around the main gate to an apartment complex of more than 700 units in the heart of the Gangnam area. Although it was almost midnight when the kidnapping was committed, it is still appalling that she was helplessly victimized in one of the safest neighborhoods in Seoul.
Worse, the tragedy could not be prevented even after an eyewitness reported the case to the police immediately - three minutes after the incident occurred at 11:46 p.m. last Wednesday. “Some suspicious men seem to be kidnapping a woman,” said the eyewitness. Seven minutes after the kidnapping, police dispatchers arrived at the site and identified the suspected car based on CCTV recordings. However, it was past midnight at 0:56 a.m. when the police put out an APB on the car. The police explained that it took longer to check out the car model that the eyewitness testified – which later turned out to be wrong. Having said that, the police need to review if the initial response was made correctly. The three abductors allegedly locked up the victim for 1 hour and 40 minutes, killing her and disposing of the body around Daecheong Dam, Daejeon. A further review also needs to be done of whether the police cooperated and carried out vehicle spot checks nationwide after the case was reported to the police.
The police are investigating another accomplice to the kidnapping who handed over the victimized woman’s personal information including her home address. Without any help from the accomplice, the suspects would not have had easy access to where she lived given that they were neither friendly nor aware of the woman. The person who assisted in stealing and leaking personal information legally should also be held accountable.
Following the end of the COVID-19 breakdown, there are a growing number of criminal acts across the country. Incidents involving arrests and confinements rose from 1,165 in 2017 to 1,439 cases in 2021. The first half of last year alone saw 708 cases. Last month, a man forced his ex-girlfriend into a car in the Gangnam area and confined her in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. There should be improvements and upgrades to police patrols as well as response systems and cooperative investigations after a case is reported to the police so that we can feel safe walking on the street at night, no matter where we live.