Pregnant migrant wife killed for money: Police

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Pregnant migrant wife killed for money: Police

A 45-year-old man surnamed Lee was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of killing his pregnant Cambodian wife in a deliberate car accident, according to Cheonan Dongnam Police Precinct in Cheonan, North Chungcheong.

The police said Lee rammed his car into an eight-ton truck parked on an emergency parking strip around 3:40 a.m. on Aug. 23 on the Gyeongbu Expressway about 335 kilometers (208 miles) north of Busan. His wife, a migrant from Cambodia, was in the passenger seat and was killed instantly. She was seven months pregnant.

Lee received minor injures in the accident and was treated at a hospital nearby. During the police’s investigation Lee said: “The accident occurred after I dozed off at the wheel.”

The case was almost filed away as a tragic accident until the police learned that Lee had taken out 26 insurance policies for his wife which would pay out a total of 9.6 billion won ($8,640,864). The couple married in 2008.

“Lee paid three million won monthly for his wife’s insurance premiums,” the police said.

The police also found a sleep inducer in the wife’s blood and suspected homicide.

The police concluded that the Lee’s statement was false after analyzing CCTV footage and conferring with the National Forensic Service and the Road Traffic Authority. CCTV analysis showed that Lee operated the car at the time of the accident in a way that a drowsy driver would not, the police said.

Lee turned on his high beams 400 meters (1,312 feet) away from the truck and maneuvered toward it adeptly. Lee was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident while his wife wasn’t, the police said. “It is impossible to operate steering wheel the way Lee did if a driver was truly falling asleep,” the police said.

Lee denies the police conclusion and insists he didn’t mean to kill his wife.


BY SHIN JIN-HO [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]

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