One-time blind date murdered for money

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One-time blind date murdered for money

A 25-year married man in Daegu allegedly kidnapped a women he blind-dated in high school, tied her up, and demanded money from her family to pay off debts, police said. After a chase down a highway, the suspect, surnamed Kim, managed to elude the police, strangled his hostage and wasn’t arrested for another 24 hours, police said.

The police’s bungled efforts to rescue the girl are being criticized. They admit to failing to note Kim’s license plate number and not blocking roads and tollgates to prevent his getting away. Lee’s family are saying the police’s advice to stop paying ransom could have tipped off the suspect and led to the murder.

Kim allegedly kidnapped the university student, surnamed Lee, when she was walking in her neighborhood in Bummul-dong, Daegu at 2 a.m. Thursday. Kim told police that he accidentally came upon Lee, with whom he had a blind date in high school, and didn’t target her, although police said the suspect had wrapping tape with him, suggesting premeditation.

Somehow the suspect convinced Lee to get into the car and tied her up with tape. At 7:46 a.m. he made the first of nine ransom calls to the student’s family, demanding they wire 60 million won to his bank account. Saying they didn’t have that much, the family sent him 2.9 million won, police said.

At 1:42 pm Kim used Lee’s bank card to withdraw 2.55 million won from an ATM, a transaction caught on security video. At 2 pm, Kim allegedly called Lee’s family again, demanding 2 million won more.

Meanwhile, Daegu police advised the family to stop paying ransom.

At 6:34 pm, Kim allowed the young woman to talk to her mother on the phone. Less than an hour later, police tracked down Kim’s car, which was parked near a power plant approximately 17 kilometers west of Lee’s house. Kim spotted them and drove down a highway, losing the police “within minutes,” police said. Lee was alive and bound in Kim’s car, police said.

Police said Kim admitted strangling Lee at around 10 p.m. on the 88 Highway. He allegedly dumped her body in a waterway by a tollgate in Geochang in south Gyeongsang and it was found the following day at 11:20 p.m.

Police said that although they failed to note Kim’s license plate number during the chase, local residents identified the suspect from the security video. Police captured the suspect near his house in Dalseo, Daegu the next day at 7:50 in the evening.

Police say Kim confessed that he had kidnapped Lee to pay back 55 million won in personal debts, but “had to kill her when the money didn’t come, because she had already seen his face.”


By Song Yee-ho, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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