Aussie boy charged in Korean woman’s killing

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Aussie boy charged in Korean woman’s killing

Police yesterday charged an Australian teenager for the murder of a young Korean woman, whose battered body was found in a park in central Brisbane.

Ban Eun-ji, a 22-year-old Korean college student, was found dead in Wickham Park, located in a central part of the city, early Sunday by a passerby. Queensland police said that Ban had been working as a hotel cleaner in Brisbane’s Central Business District and had been on her way to work from home around 4 a.m. on Sunday.

She lived in a nearby apartment at the Roma Street Parklands, where other Koreans live.

Local police said she had visible head injuries and pools of blood were found by her body, which was discovered near a flight of stairs. Police don’t believe a weapon was used and said that initially there were no signs of sexual assault or robbery. Ban, a college senior, arrived in Queensland in mid-October on a working holiday visa, which is available to young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to tour or learn English. The visa enables them to get short-term jobs for a maximum of one year.

Cleaning jobs are popular because they pay relatively well and require little English-language skills. Police arrested 19-year-old Alex Reuben McEwan 48 hours later at his home in Spring Hill, not too far from the location of the crime. They were able to track him with the help of CCTV footage and witness testimonies. The motive for the murder is not yet known.

According to the Korean foreign ministry, the victim’s parents arrived in Australia early yesterday to claim the body and bring it back to Korea. In a statement, the Bans requested privacy but thanked the public and the media for its assistance in the investigation.

The Korean Foreign Ministry said that after the woman’s death, officials from the Korean Consulate in Sydney immediately confirmed the details with local police and is currently lending support to Ban’s parents.

Mourners, including friends and strangers, have been leaving flowers and letters paying tribute to Ban at Wickham Park. McEwan, currently in custody, is due to reappear in court on Dec. 16. On Monday, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart urged the public to take “extra precautions” when walking the streets and to avoid passing through dimly lit areas.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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