First use of DNA database pays dividends

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First use of DNA database pays dividends

Korea’s first use of deoxyribonucleic acid, simply known as DNA, as part of its database is paying off, as officials from the scientific investigation division of the National Police Agency (NPA) said yesterday they were able to match 30 criminals to 47 previously unsolved cases just a month after the creation of the new division.

Police said they had collected 1,145 samples of DNA during the past month from those serving prison terms for homicide, rape, sexual assault against minors, armed robbery and arson.

The DNA was collected after the law giving power to police and prosecutors to collect and use the DNA of incarcerated criminals was established on July 26.

“We strongly believe that more unsolved cases will be cracked once information on criminals keeps piling up in our DNA database,” said an official from the NPA.

The police were able to solve the 47 crimes once the collected DNA was sent to the National Institute of Scientific Investigation to be matched against unidentified pieces of evidence of unsolved crimes stored at the institute.

A serial sexual offender who was convicted of seven sexual assault cases last month was found to be guilty of three more. A 16-year-old convicted of auto theft in July was matched to four other theft crimes, while a 26-year-old man was found to have committed two rapes after he was put away for attacking a woman in an elevator last month.

The law’s aim is to help reduce the number of repeat crimes in Korea. The police said they decided to share the Korean DNA database with Interpol DNA Gateway, which currently has criminal DNA data from 54 countries.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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