Police dispatched to Philippines

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Police dispatched to Philippines

The National Police Agency has sent four officials to the Philippines to investigate, in collaboration with local authorities, the killing of a 57-year-old Korean national who was fatally shot early Sunday.

It is the first time the Korean police have ever dispatched investigators overseas to take part in a joint investigation.

The officials left for the Philippines on Monday afternoon.

The team consists of a criminology expert, a professional identification expert, a weapons expert and a surveillance analyst, Commissioner General Kang Shin-myeong said Monday.

The officials were sent a day after the victim, surnamed Cho, who ran a construction business in the central province of Batangas, was fatally shot by a group of four unidentified men who broke into his house at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Cho is the 11th Korean killed in the Philippines this year alone.

Kang said the crime appeared to have been a burglary.

“This can strictly be defined as our collaborating in an investigation led by the local police,” he said. “This is not an independent, direct investigation by Korean investigators.”

Kang added that the team would assist local police in forensic work and advise the direction of the investigation if necessary, but would refrain from directly questioning locals.

However, with approval from Filipino authorities, the Korean team could take part in questioning potential suspects in the case.

The probe follows an agreement made last month between Korean and Filipino authorities stating that the two nations would cooperate in investigations in the face of increasingly violent crimes that have left more than 10 Koreans dead this year alone.

Prompted by a series of murders there this year, the government imposed a travel ban on parts of the country last month that includes the southern island of Mindanao, Zamboanga, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. That ban is still in effect.

Violators could face up to a year in prison or a 10 million won ($8,490) fine.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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