Two suicide groups probably met on NetPolice investigating two separate group suicides Wednesday think the people met through Internet suicide communities.
In the first instance, one man and four women in their 20s and 30s were found dead at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday in a Kia Carens van parked on a roadside outside an industrial park in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, according to police.
The car doors were locked and a charcoal briquette on a burner was found inside. A note left beside the car’s GPS navigation screen read, “Police officers, I’m sorry I burdened you with cleanup [of the car and bodies]. If you can’t identify us by fingerprints, you can locate my ID card in the back pocket of my pants.”
The five were from different regions of the country.
“We checked Internet chat messages exchanged by the five people and found they traded messages to meet at Suwon Station in Gyeonggi,” a police officer said. “They moved together in a van owned by a man surnamed Kang and committed joint suicide by burning a briquette.”
Police said it’s likely the victims met through an Internet suicide site. Among the victims are a man surnamed Kang, 27, from Namhae in South Gyeongsang, a woman surnamed Jeon, 31, from Cheonan in South Chungcheong, and a 22-year old woman surnamed Pi from Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi.
A passerby surnamed Lee, 50, who first found the car said he called police immediately because the car was so strange looking.
“The windows of the cars were covered with black vinyl sheets,” Lee said.
At 5:16 p.m. on the same day, a guest house owner surnamed Seo, 47, found three male guests dead in a room in Gangchon, Chuncheon, Gongwon province.
The three men used duct tape to seal the room’s windows and door and burned two briquettes, police said.
“I got a text message warning on Wednesday from police to guest house owners saying that men who went missing could attempt suicide with briquettes at a pension or lodging facility, so I looked around my rooms,” the owner surnamed Seo, 47, said. “I found them dead.” Gangchon is home to many guest houses for campers. Five cases of group suicide occurred in Gangwon province in April 2009.
Joint-suicide is often attempted by younger Koreans. The frozen job market has prompted people in their 20s and 30s (along with older, laid-off workers) to commit suicide in groups. The people often meet through Internet communities where they can share suicide tips and find partners to end their lives..
To prevent group suicides, in April of last year the Korean government arrested a Web site operator surnamed Jeong, a 22-year old high school drop-out, on charges of abetting the suicides in Gangwon that month. Seven out of the 12 victims were members of Jeong’s suicide site.
By Choi Mo-ran, Kim Mi-ju [firstname.lastname@example.org]