Police double reward for rapist of 7-year old girl

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Police double reward for rapist of 7-year old girl

The streets of Jangan, in eastern Seoul, are devoid of children playing four days after a 7-year-old Korean-Vietnamese girl was raped in her house while her parents were at work. Police say they’re still looking for the rapist, and begged the public to come forth with any useful tip-offs.

“All the people in our neighborhood are furious about how this sort of thing could have happened to the girl,” said a neighbor surnamed Park, 56. “Despite her family’s difficult situation, she was always such a bright and sweet child.”

Yesterday, Dongdaemun police doubled the reward for useful information to 10 million won ($8,150) and printed out an additional 50,000 posters with the suspect’s composite sketch, based on a description by the young victim, to distribute nationwide after 16,000 were distributed in the Seoul area.

“We have analyzed CCTV footage retrieved from the area and fingerprints, but we have not yet found any solid evidence to identity a suspect,” a police spokesman said. They also recovered hair and semen samples from the rape scene, but don’t have a DNA database with which to compare them.

The victim and her parents are staying with a friend of the family.

According to the police, the Vietnamese mother of A., as the police have identified the victim, came to Korea eight years ago after marrying a Korean man in Vietnam. A few months later, the pair divorced and A.’s mother went back to Vietnam, pregnant with her daughter.

A and her mother returned to Korea in 2008 and met A.’s current Vietnamese stepfather, and the three live in a basement apartment of a townhouse in Jangan. The mother and stepfather work together at a garment factory. Because the parents work during the day, A. was often left alone at home when not at school.

A. attended school Tuesday for the first time since the rape. The family’s neighbors are planning to meet with A.’s social worker to learn ways to help the girl recover.

“Even if she looks fine on the outside, she must have gone through a great deal of shock,” said Hong Joong-hyun, head of the criminal affairs department at the Dongdaemun precinct. “We have assigned a female police officer to monitor any psychological changes.”

By Kim Hyo-eun, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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