Chinese tourist fatally stabs woman on Jeju

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Chinese tourist fatally stabs woman on Jeju

A 61-year-old woman stabbed by a Chinese tourist while praying at a cathedral on Jeju Island was pronounced dead at a local hospital on Sunday, bringing a morbid end to a puzzling assault - the latest in a string by Chinese visitors to the island.

The woman, who was surnamed Kim, was praying alone in a cathedral Saturday morning when a 50-year-old Chinese tourist surnamed Chen stabbed her four times in her chest and stomach and fled from the scene.

Kim called the local fire department and said, “Someone stabbed me and I am bleeding.”

Kim was treated at a local hospital but was pronounced dead on Sunday morning.

Chen was apprehended in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, on Saturday, seven hours after he allegedly committed the crime.

Authorities used CCTV camera footage to narrow down the suspects.

“I stabbed her because the woman reminded me of my two ex-wives, who left me for other men,” Chen reportedly told police.

Chen landed on the island Tuesday and was supposed to stay through Sept. 22. He bought the knife on the island, according to authorities, and reportedly entered the cathedral two to three times before he stabbed Kim.

Authorities suspect Chen may have planned the stabbing in advance.

“It may seem like an impulsive crime from Chen’s testimony,” said Park Gi-nam, head of the Jeju Seobu Police Precinct, “but the fact that he bought the weapon after he arrived and went to the cathedral two or three times before he committed the crime are signs that Chen may have planned the assault.”

Authorities are considering charging Chen with murder or attempted murder.

A series of violent crimes by Chinese tourists has alarmed Jeju.

According to the Jeju Provincial Police Agency, 347 foreigners committed crimes in Jeju Island from January to July, and 69 percent, or 240, were Chinese.

Only a week ago, eight Chinese tourists assaulted a Korean restaurant owner when she told them they couldn’t drink alcohol purchased outside the restaurant.

“Do the Chinese think that Jeju Island is a hunting ground?” said one local on Twitter on Sunday.

“Korea should strictly restrict entrance of Chinese tourists since they do not seem to know what’s legal or not.”

BY CHOI CHOONG-IL, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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