Japan helps Korea jail two Koreans

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Japan helps Korea jail two Koreans

A Korean court recently sentenced two local men to jail on robbery charges based on a testimony from an accomplice brought here from Japan to serve as a witness in the trial, the court said yesterday.

It marked the first case that an inmate from a foreign country was temporarily released to provide a testimony in Korea under a bilateral judicial cooperation pact.

The Seoul Northern District Court said it has recently sentenced a 47-year-old man, surnamed Kim, to four years behind bars, while delivering a five-year prison term for another man with the surname Park.

They were charged with wounding an 85-year-old Japanese woman and her son in a 2007 robbery case in Japan.

Two other Korean citizens also involved have already been caught and are serving seven-year prison terms in Japan.

The latest sentencing on Feb. 2 came after Seoul prosecutors worked for six months in cooperation with the Japanese justice ministry to transfer one of the two accomplices to Korea so he could serve as a witness in the case, according to the court.

The initial investigation began when the Japanese police agency sought its South Korean counterpart’s help in hunting Kim and Park after they evaded a police hunt and returned to their home country.

Following the Japanese police’s request, the national police took custody of the two fugitives in late 2010 but had to set them free after six months due to their strong denials of involvement.

Determined to prosecute them, local prosecutors successfully won the repatriation of one of the accomplices in Japan and made him stand as a witness for the robbery case in the local court, according to the Seoul court.

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