Keeping watch over lone wolves

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Keeping watch over lone wolves

Authorities have arrested a 48-year-old man suspected of killing the woman he abducted from a superstore parking lot in Asan, South Chungcheong, and later burning her body. Kim Il-gon had 22 previous criminal convictions and is alleged to have calmly carried out the crime, detailing the events without appearing to show any signs of remorse or guilt.

Police said they discovered a list he had been carrying when he was apprehended - presumably a hit list - that contained the names of 28 people including judges, doctors and nurses. Police have ruled out the possibility that the suspect may be a serial killer, particularly given his frequent prison sentences and the fact that he lived practically isolated from society. So far, they have not found any evidence that Kim made any attempts to hurt anyone on the list.

However, last month, he reportedly attempted a similar armed attack on a woman walking through the parking lot of a superstore chain in Ilsan - an indication he could be a misogynist. He complained to the police that the female store owners for which he worked part time often did not pay him.

It’s not easy to protect society from random hate crimes by a social outcasts such as this suspect. He said he abducted his victim to use her as bait to take revenge against another woman with whom he had a minor traffic collision. His motive was revenge.

According to a police report submitted to the National Assembly, revenge crimes totaled 255 cased last year, doubling from 124 in 2010. Threats accounted for most of the offenses, followed by beatings, injuries, and confinements.

Hate crimes can happen at any time, but we must do something to contain them. The police should also strengthen its monitoring of habitual criminals: There are over 40,000 repeat offenders nationwide and yet the whereabouts of 10 percent are unknown. Korea’s citizenry, in the meantime, must pay more attention to the people who live on the margins or in remote areas. Blind resentment and hate has no place in society.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 21, Page 34

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