Korean retirees fatally shot in the Philippines

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Korean retirees fatally shot in the Philippines

An elderly Korean couple was shot dead in their retirement home 28 miles south of Manila Wednesday, according to Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Armed robbery was the suspected cause. A safe in their bedroom was found open when local police arrived at the scene after receiving a call from the couple’s neighbor.

The victims, only identified by the surnames Na and Kim, had gunshot wounds to their necks and chests. Their ages were 64 and 60.

The latest case has pushed the number of Koreans killed this year in the Philippines to six; 10 were killed last year and 13 in 2013.

“In many cases, Koreans end up being targets for robbery because they’re known to be wealthy,” said Park Oe-byeong, a professor of police administration at Dongseo University. “More than a million illegal weapons are disseminated throughout [the Philippines], and public safety is rather poor.”

The Korean Embassy in the Philippines reported that the couple retired and moved to the Southeast Asian country seven years ago. Their deaths will give pause to other Koreans with the same idea.

The Philippine Retirement Authority issues a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa that entitles the holder to stay permanently in the country. It was established in 1985 to “attract foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens to invest, reside and retire in the Philippines.”

Some 7,000 Koreans, including Na and Kim, have received the visa. It requires a time deposit of $10,000, plus a monthly pension of $800 for a single applicant and $1,000 for a couple aged 50 years and above.

“Our main clientele are Korean parents aged between 30 and 50 who come for their children’s English education,” an insider who works in the Philippine immigration industry said. “And then there are those over the age of 60, who just retired and want to live a new, relaxed life.”

On 2 to 2.5 million won ($1,680 to $2,107) a month, a retiree can hire a maid and driver, go golfing and live an easy life, said the source.

Na and Kim built their own house in Silang, Cavite Province, and owned a building in the foreign country. They ran their own business, although the MOFA did not say in which field.

“If you’re heading to the Philippines after retirement, it’s best not to get ambitious about money-making [to avoid making enemies] and stick to a neighborhood with fellow Korean retirees,” an official from the MOFA said. “Never go out late at night and don’t take taxis alone.”

BY AHN HYO-SUNG, JEONG JIN-WOO [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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