Suwon murder shames police
Police’s ability to perform their duty — serve and protect — has been put in serious doubt, following the revelation that they apparently mishandled a call for help by a woman being confronted by a Korean Chinese man in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, last week.
The 28-year-old woman was killed and chopped into pieces on April 1, police said.
The 42-year-old suspect, whose Chinese name is Wu Yuanchun, was apprehended at his house hours after the murder. When officers broke in, he was found cutting the victim’s corpse into pieces.
According to police, the victim called the 112 Crime Report Center with her mobile phone at 10:58 p.m. on April 1.
A check discovered that there were about 20 officers on duty at the emergency center but no responses were made in the critical eight minutes after the women’s call-in.
In a terrified voice, she told police that she had been abducted by a man and was being raped at the man’s house.
The crime scene was found to be only seven minutes away from the nearest police station.
She said the house was located somewhere between a public playground and an elementary school in the Jidong area, but the officer kept asking her for an accurate address. She then began to plead for forgiveness to her attacker as the sound of a door being broken was heard before the phone was dropped.
The call continued for several more minutes. She didn’t hang up in order to help detectives find her location. However, officers arrived at the scene about 13 hours after the call was made.
Police are suspected of having attempted to cover up their bungling of the case.
After the murder was first reported by the media, police said the phone was hung up after 1 minute and 20 seconds. However, it was later found that her call continued for more than six minutes.
Amid a public uproar, police released a recording of the conversation Friday, in which the victim, while being attacked, screamed for help numerous times.
The case has also sparked concerns about public security.
“Should we trust the police? Police couldn’t prevent the murder in Suwon although they received specific information from the victim about the location of the place where the crime was being committed,” a blogger said.
The bereaved family of the victim said they will file a compensation suit against the government regarding the police’s belated response.
“The police could have prevented the murder if they responded promptly to her call. We will seek compensation for what we suffered and will suffer from her death,” her relative told reporters. Her family members, including father and mother, wailed when they visited the crime scene on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Wu is said to have a wife and children in China. He came to Korea in 2007 and has worked at construction sites, making some 1.5 to 2 million won a month.
His neighbors in Suwon said he was a quiet man who liked drinking alone. Police found a bottle of Chinese liquor, photos of naked women and sanitary pads at his house.
Wu told detectives that he hit the head of the victim with a wrench twice and strangled her to death. He then took the body to the bathroom and cut it into pieces.
After that, Wu went out of his house at 5 a.m. to purchase plastic bags to contain the mutilated body.
The owner of a shop remembered him looking for the bag.
“He asked me if we have a black, large-sized plastic bag. I told him that we have only a blue-colored one and then he was gone,” the owner said.
His neighbors heard a woman screaming for help, but didn’t report to police because they thought it was a quarrel between a husband and wife.