Drifter tells the police he fatally robbed hiker

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Drifter tells the police he fatally robbed hiker

Police arrested a 45-year-old drifter on charges of strangling a 55-year-old woman to death and robbing her of cash on Mount Sapae in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, last week.

After questioning the suspect, who is surnamed Jeong, the Uijeongbu Police Precinct said he was a homeless day laborer who worked on construction sites and drifted through various regions.

He purchased a bottle of soju on the morning of the murder, June 7, and headed up Mount Sapae around 10 a.m. Jeong drank the liquor, took a three-hour nap, and was loitering around the area when he spotted a woman, eating by herself on a boulder.

The woman, also surnamed Jeong, had been hiking alone, and he approached her from behind around 3 p.m. with the objective of stealing valuables.

He strangled her with his left arm, and with his right hand punched her head twice then rummaged through her bag for her wallet. He took off with some 15,000 won in cash.

Jeong’s body was found on Thursday morning, by hikers.

Police found the victim’s wallet containing her credit card and library pass around 200 meters (656 feet) away from the scene of murder.

The culprit turned himself in by calling the police on Friday evening, around 10:55 p.m., and confessed to the murder. Uijeongbu police arrested Jeong around one and a half hours later.

Jeong read news reports of the discovery of the woman’s body and the police investigation through his smartphone, causing him mental anguish.

Shoeprints found on the victim’s body matched his shoes. DNA evidence from his sweat found on the woman’s neck and body also matched his, according to police.

The police did not find any evidence of an attempted rape although the victim was found with her pants pulled down. Jeong told police he pulled the victims’ clothes down to keep her from chasing him. He was not aware that he had killed her.

He began living in Uijeongbu in April and for the past two months lived at a comic book cafe with nearly no money to his name. Jeong confessed that he only had 14,000 won on him, and that he had not intended to murder the victim.

According to a Uijeongbu police official, Jeong is charged with a violent crime and they are considering publicly revealing the suspect’s face.

This case followed the fatal stabbing of a 60-year-old woman in the neck and stomach on Mount Surak just 10 days earlier on May 29.

A 61-year-old ex-convict surnamed Kim, who completed serving a 15-year-term in jail in January for robbery and murder, later confessed to killing the woman on the mountain trail, possibly to steal her money.


BY SARAH KIM, JEON ICK-JIN [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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