Two women earn ‘Top Cops’ honor

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Two women earn ‘Top Cops’ honor

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Park Mi-ok, 43, left, and Song Eun-ju, 44, right, were honored as “Top Cops” at the Mapo Police Station’s violent crime unit. The two women, who met in 2004, have been involved in a number of high-profile cases in recent years. By Kang Jung-hyun

Two women were honored as “Top Cops” at the Mapo Police Station’s violent crime unit. Park Mi-ok, 43, is the chief of the violent crime unit and Song Eun-ju, 44, is a police sergeant.

Park is a legend in the violent crime unit. For the past 10 years, Park has repeatedly received promotions in recognition of her achievements and recently became the chief of the unit. The founder of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s women’s police squad, Park is the first female officer to be the chief of the violent crime unit. She is also in charge of the Mapo Police Station’s drug enforcement unit. She moved to the violent crime unit in 1991.

Song entered the field in 1998 and since 2009 has been part of a team that investigates organized crime.

Both women are highly skilled at judo and kendo and take boxing classes as well as participate in marathons. They say such hard-core training is necessary to successfully suppress a criminal brandishing a deadly weapon.

Park says the job is exhausting but that it is worth the sacrifice.

“Every time I jump into a new case, I encounter a totally new world I wasn’t aware of. Everything’s new to me, ranging from criminal techniques to diverse professions of criminals,” Park said. “As soon as I’m given a new case, I have to stay up all night for at least a week to investigate suspects and sometimes can’t go home for months. I endure the exhaustion with only one thought in my mind - catching the criminal.”

In 1998, Park joined the search for Sin Chang-won, a thief who had escaped from prison. A nationwide manhunt was carried out, but he evaded capture for over two years. Park and her colleagues crisscrossed the country for eight months that year in a search for Sin.

To create a profile of the criminal, Park studied his prison diary. She said she read it so many times that she had nearly memorized the whole thing. Through series of in-depth interviews with eight of Sin’s former live-in girlfriends, Park analyzed his living habits and finally provided the vital clue to his whereabouts. Thanks to Park’s investigation, police were able to arrest Sin.

Song was also involved in a high-profile case when she investigated notorious serial killer Yoo Young-chul in 2004. On a rainy night that year, Song was digging on a hill where Yoo said he had buried one of the 21 people he had murdered and found the body.

“After digging for a while, I found a corpse, but I wasn’t scared. In fact, I was excited, thinking that this could finally break the case,” Song said.

Park and Song met in 2004 while working on the case of serial killer Chung Nam-gyu and have worked together on numerous cases ever since. The two recently teamed up for the case of a doctor suspected of killing his eight-month pregnant wife in Seoul. They carefully put together the pieces of the puzzle and found enough evidence to have the husband arrested.


By Shim Seo-hyun [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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