Children’s Day is, for most Korean children, the number one holiday of the year and is generally spent with family and friends. It is normally a joyous occasion but this year it has been marred by the horrific death of a 15-year-old girl middle school student named Han who lost her life after being sexually assaulted and robbed by two boys, Lee (14) and Yoem (15). According to this Seoul Sinmoon article (Korean). I will not attempt to translate the article but will merely summarize it (naturally I would appreciate any assistance in correcting any mistakes I might have made).
The girl had the misfortune of meeting the two boys while on her way home from Namsong Station (line 7). The boys accosted her at first claiming that she resembled someone who had stolen their motorcyle and insisted that she follow them to an apartment complex some 1.5 kms away to verify if she was the culprit. Yeom stayed on the first floor to keep watch as his younger friend, Lee, took the girl up to the machine room on the roof of the building (23 floors) by the emergency stairwell. There, Lee raped and sexually molested her for almost an hour before the girl was able to break away and try to escape. Lee pursued her and the girl slipped and fell from the roof to her death.
Lee tried to disguise her death as a suicide by leaving the girl’s cellphone placed neatly at the edge of the roof – for those unfamiliar, Koreans who commit suicide by jumping tend to remove their shoes before the act. At first the police believed it was an act of suicide until they began to investigate and discovered that some of the last messages sent from the girl’s cellphone were not from her but from Lee to his friends. CCTV also verified the boys were in the area. The boys were apprehended the following day. Lee has been charged with rape, robbery (he stole 6,500 won) and for her subsequent death while Yoem has been charged with making a false statement or perjury. Lee is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law. He has a previous record of extorting some 2,000,000 won in total from some 80 students. The boys apparently have shown little remorse and when asked by the police where they were following the girl’s death they merely answered that they had gone home and went to sleep.
According to the article – in 2006 there were 1,811 minors convicted of sexual assaults. In 2007 there were 2,136; in 2008 the number rose to 2,717 and in 2009 there were 2,934. By February of this year there were 370.