Hoaxer nabbed for demanding cash for Choi’s urn
A 40-year-old man has been arrested after demanding thousands of dollars for the return of an urn containing the ashes of the late actress Choi Jin-sil.
The man, surnamed Jeong, was dramatically picked up by police on Monday night during the fourth call he had made that day to officials at Kapsan Park where an urn containing Choi’s remains had been kept until its theft on the morning of Aug. 4.
A police spokesman said a warrant to detain the man, who later told detectives that he hadn’t stolen the urn, would be requested today.
Jeong allegedly called Kapsan Park officials four times between 2:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Monday from a phone booth in Nowon, northern Seoul. He originally said he had stolen the urn and that he would return it only if he was paid 100 million won ($80,600), according to the police.
Park officials reported to the police that a man had called making threats and demanding money. Officers traced the calls to a phone booth in Nowon and arrested Jeong during his fourth call to the park.
Detectives said Jeong doesn’t match the person in a video clip revealed to the public on Monday taken by a closed-circuit surveillance camera near the burial site in the park early on Aug. 2. In the film, a man is seen wandering around the area near to Choi’s grave. The urn was stolen two days later. Footage showing the suspect was first released last Thursday.
Police quoted the man as saying that his business was suffering financially and he had decided to demand the money after seeing news reports concerning a 30 million won ($24,030) reward for information leading to the arrest of the person seen on the video footage.
Officers at Yangpyeong precinct investigating the urn’s theft are exploring the possibility that Jeong has collaborators or was ordered to demand the money.
By Lee Jeong-bong, Lee Min-yong [email@example.com]