Germans hold Koreans for exorcism gone wrong

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Germans hold Koreans for exorcism gone wrong

A 41-year-old Korean woman was found dead in a guest room of a hotel in Frankfurt last week, the victim of a supposed exorcism performed by her own family members.

German prosecutors said on Thursday five Koreans, including the dead woman’s teenage son, were arrested at the scene for suspected murder.

Police found the woman’s body tied to a bed in a guest room at the Frankfurt Hotel InterContinental on Dec. 5.

She had been beaten repeatedly on her chest and stomach over a two-hour period and finally suffocated to death, according to prosecutors.

The accused were mostly relatives of the victim. They included her 15-year-old son, a 44-year-old relative and her 21-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, and an unrelated boy aged 15.

The family members had allegedly been trying to drive a demon from the woman, believing her to be possessed.

Her mouth had been gagged with a towel to stifle screams and a cloth-covered coat hanger was pushed down her throat.

The woman died from suffocation as a result of massive chest compression, as well as trauma to her neck, according to prosecutors.

It is unclear what religious sect the suspects belong to.

The German police were initially alerted by a Catholic priest, who discovered the body and notified the hotel’s reception desk, The Associated Press reported.

“I’ve never come across anything like it,” Nadja Niesen, the chief prosecutor in Frankfurt, said about the case.

She said the victim had been subjected to “pain and agony” for two hours and that the suspects’ actions “were motivated by a callous and merciless attitude.”

A postmortem found that the woman had been smothered by a towel that had been pushed down her throat with a metal coat hanger.

The suspects reportedly refused to remove the towel even after police arrived, allegedly claiming that the demon still possessed the woman.

According to prosecutors, the family arrived in Frankfurt six weeks ago.

Korean media reported that the family originally came from the United States and had stayed for several months with a church located in Namyangju, Gyeonggi.

Through the investigation, another severely injured victim was found alive inside the garage of a house the family had rented in the town of Sulzbach, west of Frankfurt.

The woman, also 41 years old, had been taken to the hospital suffering from hypothermia and dehydration.

BY SARAH KIM, KO JEONG-AE [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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