Tap smelled off for weeks, body found in water tank

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Tap smelled off for weeks, body found in water tank

After receiving complaints from residents that their tap water had smelled foul for days, a security guard in Gumi, North Gyeongsang went to investigate on Monday and found the corpse of a Chinese man in his 30s wearing nothing but his undergarments inside the water tank, Gumi police announced Wednesday.

About 50 people from 18 households had been drinking water from the water tank for over 15 days. Gumi city government placed a water supply truck next to the flat on Monday for residents to use.

Also, Gumi Public Health Center has been examining the health of the residents who drank from the water tank and has offered psychological therapy.

“Even if the corpse had rotted within the water tank, the germs should have been destroyed by the residual chlorine in the water, which is at 0.2 ppm [parts per million],” said the city. “No one has yet reported any disease infections.”

The residents who drank from the water tank, however, expressed concerns over their mental and physical health.

“I feel sick whenever I think about it,” a resident told Yonhap News Agency. “I’m worried that my children, who also drank from the water, will get diseases.”

A Gumi police officer said on Thursday, “There were no injuries or wounds found on the corpse during the autopsy and we are now conducting another examination to see if there are any traits of poison, alcohol or drug intake.”

The police added that results of the additional examination will be released in about two weeks.

Police also said they found a note, a Chinese passport and 28,000 won ($24) in cash in the pocket of a vest, which presumably belonged to the Chinese man, placed next to the water tank. A pair of shoes also lay next to the vest.

The note read, “I’m a laborer. They deceived me and didn’t give me 30,000 yuan [$4,607], my three months of salary.”

“We confirmed that the man worked for a fishing boat in Pohang until last November,” said a police officer. “We asked the ship crews to submit a wage payment statement. They told police that from what they know, there weren’t any overdue wages.”

The police also notified the Chinese Embassy about the man’s death and a message was delivered to the family, as well.

BY KIM YOUN-HO, SHIN SOO-YEON [shin.sooyeon@joongang.co.kr]
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