Lifer absconds on 5-day leave from prison

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Lifer absconds on 5-day leave from prison

A 47-year-old convict serving a life sentence for robbery and homicide vanished on a five-day leave from prison a week ago. Police are pursuing the fugitive.

The police are also offering a 10 million won ($9,311) reward for information that leads to the capture of the prisoner, Hong Seung-man, and are promising a special promotion to officers who contribute to his rearrest.

“We are offering special promotions to police officers who arrest Hong,” said Police Commissioner General Kang Sin-myeong at a press conference Monday. “We will do our best to capture him as soon as possible to prevent him from committing more crimes.”

He added that there has not been any credible report of a sighting of the convict. Some 63 officers from six local police agencies are pursuing the fugitive.

Hong was sentenced to life in prison for robbery and homicide 19 years ago. The Jeonju Penitentiary said he’s been a model prisoner for a long time and went on a five-day leave to visit his home in Hanam, Gyeonggi, on April 17. In Korea, model prisoners are rewarded with leaves from jail.

He disappeared on April 21.

It was later discovered that the fugitive visited a pen pal in Anyang, Gyeonggi, and asked her to formally file a marriage registration with him at a government office but she refused, said the police.

The police have found out that Hong had breakfast with his brother in Songpa District, eastern Seoul, and moved to Cheongnyangni Station in eastern Seoul.

They believe Hong then moved onto Busan as he was taped by a security camera at a bus terminal in Busan on Thursday.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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