Attacks against Koreans spark message to Russia

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Attacks against Koreans spark message to Russia

Korea urged Russia yesterday to take steps to curb hate crimes against its citizens in Russia, following the death of a college student attacked earlier this week in what was believed to be a case of racially motivated violence.

“The government relayed its concerns over the seriousness of this incident and the negative effect it could have on the relationship between the two countries to the Russian government through our embassy in Moscow,” an official from Korea’s foreign ministry in Seoul said.

The 22-year-old victim, identified only by his surname Kang, died at a hospital in the Russian city of Irkutsk on Thursday, three days after he and a female Korean student were attacked by a group of three local youths in the Siberian city.

The female student, who only suffered minor injuries, has told Korean diplomats in Irkutsk that the Russian youths attacked Kang from behind for no apparent reason.

The three suspects, all in their teens or early 20s, have been apprehended. Local police believe the violence was racially motivated since no money or other valuables were taken from the scene, according to officials at the Korean consulate in Irkutsk. Both Kang and the female student were on an exchange program between their college in Gwangju, some 320 kilometers (198 miles) southwest of Seoul, and a national college of education in the Russian city.

“We urged both the central and local governments of Russia to take measures to help prevent any recurrence of such an incident,” the official in Seoul said.

Kang’s parents, along with officials from Gwangju National University of Education, left for Irkutsk on Thursday, according to school officials.

The school has 18 other students there on the exchange program. They are all scheduled to return home next week along with the attacked female student, they said.


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