Man arrested for trying to rape a sixth graderAnother case of attempted rape was reported by police after a string of rape-related murder cases have shaken the country in recent days.
The Gangseo Police Precinct in western Seoul said yesterday it put a 27-year-old man, surnamed Lee, in detention on charges of attempting to rape a female sixth grade student.
The company worker followed the 12-year-old, surnamed Kim, for about 10 minutes when he saw her on her way home from a private academy, or hagwon, at around 8 p.m. on Thursday.
The suspect followed the girl through the lobby of her apartment building and got on the elevator with her.
When Kim got off on the third floor, where her apartment is located, Lee dragged her to the stairway and threatened to kill her if she resisted.
The rape failed when the student’s mother walked up the stairs on her way back home.
Lee, surprised to see the victim’s mother standing in front of him, hurriedly fled the scene leaving his bag and underwear.
The police said he fled with his pants inside-out.
The suspect, who lives 700 meters (0.43 miles) away from the victim’s house, came back to the site at around 9 p.m. to retrieve his belongings, as his identification card was in the bag.
Lee was arrested at the scene of the crime by a police officer.
The victim is now receiving psychological counseling to recover from trauma caused by the attack.
“The suspect said he saw her for the first time on the day of the crime and was intoxicated from drinking three bottles of soju.
“But we are not counting out the possibility that he had known her before, as he lives nearby and could have planned the attack,” said the investigators.
The case fueled growing concerns that a sex crime against a child is often committed by a neighbor but not a stranger.
In the recent murder of a nine-year-old girl in Tongyeong, the suspect was also a villager who lived only 250 meters away from the victim’s house. He kidnapped and killed her after his rape attempt failed earlier this month.
By Kang Jin-kyu, Lee Hyeon [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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