Police: Boy killed family out of spite

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Police: Boy killed family out of spite

A 13-year-old boy who was scolded by his father set fire to his family’s apartment in Hawangsimni-dong, Seoul, at 3:35 a.m. yesterday, causing the deaths of four people.

Seongdong police officials said that all of the boy’s family members who lived in the apartment burned to death except an aunt who was working in Dongdaemun market.

According to police, a boy surnamed Lee planned the fire Tuesday after losing his temper when his father forced him to study.

He bought an empty 1-liter bottle and 8.5 liters (2.2 gallons) of gasoline from a gas station at 8:30 p.m., saying he needed them for a science class.

He stashed the bottle and gasoline in his bookbag and waited until the next night. After ensuring that his parents, grandmother and younger sister were all sleeping, Lee poured the gasoline in his parent’s bedroom where his father was alone, in the living room where his mother and younger sister slept, and in the kitchen. His grandmother was sleeping in another small room.

According to police, Lee’s father told the son, “You have to study hard to become a prosecutor or judge. Why are you always concentrating on dancing and taking photos?”

Lee told police he wanted to enter an art school but that his father opposed the idea. He said he thought his family would have lived a happy life if his father died.

Lee told police he fled the apartment via a stairway to escape a surveillance camera in the elevator. He came back again 90 minutes later, asking the janitor, “Where is that fire coming from?”

Police said an investigating officer found that Lee’s hair was partly burned. Lee allegedly lied to police, saying he had been near Hongik University, but then eventually confessed to the crime.

“We will do an autopsy because Lee could have killed them first and set a fire later,” a police official said.

Authorities said they will send the boy to Seoul Family Court after completing the investigation.


By Song Ji-hye [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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