Murder suspect hangs himself after manhunt

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Murder suspect hangs himself after manhunt

A man being hunted for raping and murdering his neighbor hung himself near a temple in Cheongju, North Chungcheong, 12 hours after police published his name, photo and how he was dressed.

Police said Gwak Gwang-seop, 45, who was wanted for allegedly raping and killing a woman in her 20s last week, hung himself from a tree on Mount Wooam, 200 meters (218 yards) from Bohyeon Temple in Sangdang District in Cheongju. Gwak was a convicted rapist, and the police were more aggressive than usual in publicizing his details.

Police are on the defensive after a string of brutal crimes, many by repeat sex offenders.

The Sangdang Police Precinct in Cheongju said yesterday they found the dead body of Gwak at 11:55 a.m. on Saturday after it was reported by a hiker. Gwak’s driver’s license and a credit card were found in his wallet, but no suicide note.

Allegedly, Gwak raped and strangled a 25-year-old woman surnamed Jang in an apartment building in Naegok-dong, Cheongju. Her body was found Tuesday in the building’s storage area.

Gwak was suspected immediately because he was convicted of raping his ex-girl friend and her daughter in 2004. He and his current girlfriend lived next door to the victim. Gwak disappeared after the murder.

On Friday, the police put Gwak on their wanted list after the girl friend said that she saw Gwak on Wednesday on Mount Wooam and he confessed. “I strangled her to death as I was intoxicated,” she quoted him as saying. The National Forensic Service found Gwak’s DNA on the victim’s body. The police searched the area around the mountain by mobilizing 300 police officers.

The Ministry of Justice said yesterday they will update and verify residential details and other personal information of convicted sex offenders every six months.

According to a revised law expected to be passed this month, convicted sex offenders will be required to post personal information such as home address, job and vehicle information, to police stations in their jurisdictions every six months. They will be required to update the information when it changes.

Currently, offenders are required to update their information once a year.

By Kwon Sang-soo, Shin Jin-ho [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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