Officer probed for further robberies

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Officer probed for further robberies

The Yeosu Police Precinct is looking into five unsolved robberies on suspicion that one of its police officers, now under questioning for involvement with the robbery of a post office, is also involved in other burglaries.

The 44-year-old officer Kim is now under arrest on charges of helping a man surnamed Park steal 52.13 million won ($48,300) in cash from an iron safe in a post office in Yeosu, South Jeolla, on Dec. 8.

The Yeosu police reported earlier this month that Park broke into the safe in the post office by cutting a hole through the wall of an adjacent restaurant with an acetylene torch.

After Park’s apprehension on Dec. 20, 13 days after the robbery, the suspect confessed to authorities that the police officer helped him carry out the crime by giving him relevant information, such as the location of the safe box in the post office.

The two reportedly have known each other for over 10 years.

The police arrested the officer after obtaining the testimony from Park.

The police are now investigating if the two suspects collaborated on five other unsolved robberies that took place in Yeosu using similar tactics, such as drilling from an adjacent building to break into a safe deposit box.

The investigators are looking into the robbery of an automatic teller machine in 2005 in which a yet-to-be caught suspect drilled a hole from the wall of the nearby restaurant, stealing 14 million won in cash.

Park reportedly confessed to the investigators the two were responsible for the unsolved theft in 2005, according to Yonhap News Agency.

In 2004, two of four automated teller machines in a local bank in Yeosu were cracked and 17 million won was stolen.

The police officer in question worked in the violent crime division at the Yeosu Police Precinct, raising the possibility that he participated in covering up the unsolved crimes between 2004 and 2006.

In response to a claim that it will be difficult to charge Kim due to the statute of limitations, which is seven years, the authorities said the statute of limitation for Kim’s crimes is extended to 10 years as Kim is eligible for punishment by the Additional Punishment Law on Specific Crimes.

The additional punishment law applies when a suspect commits repetitive illegal acts.

The statute of limitation for crimes under the additional punishment law is 10 years.


By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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