Activist’s mom was killed for money

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Activist’s mom was killed for money

Seoul police said yesterday that a 43-year old South Korean man confessed to killing the mother of a leading anti-North Korean activist after robbing her of 250,000 won ($223.) There appeared to be no political motivation involved in the case.

The 75-year-old woman, whose son is the secretary-general of the ultra-conservative Korea Parent Federation, was found dead on March 10 in a small grocery store she operated in Mia-dong, northeastern Seoul.

Denying suspicions raised by the Korea Parent Federation that the murderer had a connection to North Korea, the suspect, surnamed Gu, said he had never joined any political association and wasn’t under orders by the North Korean government or a pro-North Korea group in the South.

“I am living in gosiwon [a budget dormitory] and have little money left after I pay for my room,” Gu told the police. “I thought that since the woman was old, I could easily commit a robbery.”

Gu added that “I have never known she was the mother of the secretary-general of an anti-North Korea group. I have never heard anything about the Korea Parent Federation.”

Gu said that ever since he was released from prison in December 2009, he has had financial problems as he worked as a day laborer.

Police found a hammer with blood on it wrapped in plastic at around 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, in front of Gu’s dormitory, which is about 150 meters (492 feet) from the grocery store. After questioning his neighbors, police arrested Gu in an Internet cafe near the dormitory at about 4:00 a.m. yesterday.

According to police, Gu visited the grocery store operated by the murder victim on March 10 at around 3:20 p.m. He hit the woman with a hammer several times, killing her. Gu said he had prepared for the robbery for over two weeks.

Gu is also suspected of robbing a store in Ansan, Gyeonggi, on April 26, 2010, attacking the owner in the same way, police said.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


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서울 강북경찰서는 24일 `대북전단` 보수단체 간부의 모친을 살해하고 금품을 빼앗은 혐의(강도살인)로 구모(43)씨를 붙잡아 조사 중이다.

경찰에 따르면 구씨는 지난 10일 오후 3시20분께 서울 강북구 미아동의 한 가게에서 주인 한모(75.여)씨의 머리를 흉기로 수차례 내리쳐 숨지게 하고 돈상자 등에서 현금 25만원을 챙긴 뒤 달아난 혐의를 받고 있다.

강도·상해 등 전과 5범인 구씨는 지난해 4월26일 경기도 안산 이모(55)씨의 가게에서 망치를 이용한 같은 수법으로 강도 행각을 벌인 혐의도 있다.

숨진 한씨는 보수단체인 대한민국어버이연합 사무총장 추모(52)씨의 어머니이며 유족과 단체는 `친북·종북주의자에 의한 테러` 가능성을 제기해 왔다.

경찰은 사건 현장에서 150m 가량 떨어진 고시원 신발장에서 피가 묻은 망치가 비닐 봉지에 싸여있는 것을 발견, 탐문수사를 벌인 끝에 24일 오전 미아동의 한 PC방에서 구씨를 긴급 체포했다.

구씨는 경찰에서 "고시원 숙박비를 내고 나면 생활비가 남지 않는데 평소 10차례 넘게 드나들던 가게 주인이 늙어서 범행이 편할 것이라고 생각했다"고 진술했다.

구씨는 "피해자가 대북단체 간부 어머니인줄 몰랐다. 어버이연합도 모른다"며 정당이나 정치관련 단체에 가입해 활동한 전력이 없다고 진술했고 북한이나 친북단체의 사주를 받는 등의 테러 관련 혐의도 부인했다.

경찰은 구씨에게 테러 등 대공 용의점이 없는 것으로 판단하고 있으며 추가 조사를 벌인 뒤 구속영장을 신청할 방침이다.

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