Police: Cab driver confesses to 2 rapes, murders

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Police: Cab driver confesses to 2 rapes, murders

A taxi driver has confessed to raping and killing a 24-year-old passenger in Cheongju, North Chungcheong, last weekend, and police said on Tuesday that he is linked to two unsolved murder and rape cases in the area.

Police said the driver, a 41-year-old man surnamed Ahn, is an ex-convict who served two and a half years in jail for rape a decade ago. He was detained by police on Tuesday.

Investigators at Daedeok Police Precinct in Daejeon said Ahn’s latest victim, a woman surnamed Song, took a cab late Friday night to return home after a friend’s birthday party. Ahn allegedly struck up a conversation, asking her whether she worked or was a student, in order to learn whether she had enough money to rob.

After learning that she was an intern at a public-service agency, police said Ahn drove into the unfrequented back streets of an apartment complex and forcefully took Song’s wallet, then raped her in the back seat of the cab.

Ahn then tied Song’s wrists and ankles with nylon string, wrapped her face in duct tape, and shoved her into the trunk of the cab, police said. With Song in the trunk, Ahn drove for three hours looking for an ATM with no one around, but once he found one he was unable to withdraw money because he had gotten Song’s password wrong.

When Ahn opened the trunk at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Song was dead, police said.

Ahn allegedly drove home and went to sleep with Song’s body in the trunk, and went back to work at 2 p.m. He dumped Song’s body in a vacant lot at the Daedeok Industrial Complex in Daejeon at 1:34 the next morning and fled, police said.

Her body was found later Sunday.

While examining closed-circuit television records installed around Daejeon Industrial Complex, investigators spotted a cab with its license plate partially hidden. They picked up Ahn on Sunday.

Ahn allegedly told investigators that he killed Song because he “was afraid that she would report the incident to police.”

During questioning, police said Ahn confessed that he had also raped and killed a 41-year-old woman surnamed Kim, whose body was found under the Jangpyeong Bridge in Cheongju on Sept. 26, 2009. Kim went missing after she took a cab from company gathering at 11 p.m. on Sept. 21.

Police also said that Ahn’s DNA matched genetic material found on the body of a 23-year-old rape and murder victim surnamed Jeon, whose body was dumped on a road near Jocheon Stream in Yeongi County, South Chungcheong, in 2004. There has been no confession in that case, police said.

Police said that Ahn used the same M.O. in all three murders. He allegedly picked up female passengers, raped and murdered them, then dumped their bodies. In all the cases, he stole or tried to steal money from his victims, police said.

Because Ahn had lived in Ansan, Gyeonggi, for the past two years, police said they are investigating whether he is linked to other unsolved rape and murder cases in the area.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly yesterday toughened post-imprisonment laws on rapists and murderers.

Previously, only sexual predators who committed their crimes after September 2008, when the last law was passed, were required to wear electronic monitoring anklets. The new bill extends the coverage to all convicted rapists and murderers, including those previously convicted.

It also increases the time during which they must wear the monitors to a maximum of 30 years, up from the previous 10-year limit.

By Kim Bang-hyeon, Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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