[EDITORIALS]Keystone Kops in KoreaPolice investigating the murder of two elementary schoolboys in Bucheon, Gyeonggi province, had arrested a 16-year-old middle school student as the primary suspect in the case. They released him Thursday. The irrational police investigation, based only on the suspect’s confession, was the cause of that pullback.
The police investigation of the student was a long way from the basic principles of investigation. They should have arrested the student only after obtaining evidence from a scientific investigation that he was involved. But police hastily detained the student as soon as he confessed to the killing and then released him when he withdrew it. Had they looked into the credibility of the student’s statement only for a short time first, the police would not be in such a shameful state now. How could the statement that a middle school student killed two elementary school students only a couple of years younger than he was sound convincing? Also, police should have considered the fact that minors tend to make false statements according to investigators’ leading questions.
We believe that police engaged in a coercive investigation because they were under pressure to solve the high-profile case even though they had insufficient investigative ability. Another problem with the police investigation is that it infringed upon the human rights of a minor. They violated the police regulation that a minor should not be questioned after midnight. Their action in making public the details of the confession of the student was wrong as well. What happens when that student was discovered to be innocent after all, and he has to live a life with a wound in his heart?
We remember a case in which police investigating serial killings in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province, called an innocent citizen a serial killer just because they received a report from a man who said he had received a divine revelation. How can the police be trusted when they still do such things?
They should not depend on luck; they should learn scientific techniques. Only when the police are competent can we talk about their independence from the prosecution. Who will listen to claims that they should be independent when they can’t detect and abuse human rights?