A gang of teenage dropouts took ruthless revenge on a member who gossiped, holding her hostage for four days as they beat her to death - all while the kidnapped girl’s parents made no effort to locate her.
The blanket-wrapped body of the 15-year-old, identified only by her surname, Kim, floated to the surface of the Han River last Thursday, eight days after police say her friends locked her inside a house and began their onslaught.
Police have arrested the leaders of the mob, a boy named Jung and a girl named Choi. Warrants have been issued for three others involved in the attack, as well as a 19-year-old man surnamed Lee who allegedly helped dispose of the girl’s body after it had been drained of blood to make it lighter to carry. All of the suspects except Lee are 15 years old.
The motive, police said: teenage gossip.
Police said Kim talked to other friends about Jung’s “very bad behavior.” In retaliation, he and four other teens took Kim to the home of Choi’s parents, who were away on a business trip, and began beating her.
“Choi’s parents were away for more than a month,” said an officer. “The family and society’s negligence led to this outrageously hideous crime.”
Police said the teens did not intend to kill Kim and, after she died, enlisted help from Lee, the boyfriend of one of the gang members. He allegedly suggested they drain Kim’s blood, telling them that he’d gotten the idea from “Case Closed,” a popular manga detective series. The gang consulted the Internet for tips on corpse disposal.
On the morning of June 13, the sextet allegedly wrapped Kim’s corpse in a blanket and hired a taxi to take them to the Han River. They told the taxi driver that they were carrying a statue that had been assigned for school, police said.
At the river’s edge, they reportedly weighted down the blanket with bricks and pieces of concrete. They burned toothpicks in place of incense as a ritual send-off for the dead, adding a few 10 won pieces to the blanket’s load “as pocket money for Kim,” police said. Then they dumped her body in the river.
Kim surfaced four days later. Police didn’t release a cause of death.
All six teens accused of Kim’s death are middle- or high-school dropouts, and Jung and the victim had criminal records. Police said all of them live either with a single parent or grandparents. The parents of neither the victim nor the suspects had reported their children missing during the span from June 9 to 13.
By Kim Hyo-eun [firstname.lastname@example.org]