A stark similarity
The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
A 53-year-old female was carried off to a hospital in Incheon on Oct. 28. She was the maintenance supervisor of an apartment complex in the city. An employee raised the alarm after finding her bleeding on the floor. She was declared dead soon after arriving at the hospital due to fatal stab wounds.
A district police office soon identified the suspect from CCTV records. The suspect was a 63-year-old residential representative of the apartment complex. The video showed him stabbing the supervisor many times. He turned himself in later that day. An arrest warrant was issued on Oct. 30.
According to testimonies, the residential representative surnamed Lee recently unilaterally changed the holder’s name in a bank account keeping monthly maintenance fees from residents. As the maintenance account must be co-held by the manager and residential representative, it cannot be withdrawn by one of them. But Lee changed the count to his own name and security number. Upon protest from the supervisor, he reverted the account to a co-ownership. Ever since the incident, Lee’s behavior toward the manager turned nasty.
According to the colleagues of the deceased, Lee made insolent demands such as asking her to give him a larger allowance or invite him to her house so that he could trust her. When she refused, he scolded her for disrespecting the residential representative and that she should obey him since she was being paid by the residents.
When she stayed recalcitrant, he spread bad rumors about her, claiming she was suspicious of not trusting the account with him. The supervisor then sought outside auditors for an examination on the books. She was killed while the probe was still ongoing. The police are examining what led to the murder.
A mourning altar was set up at the apartment. Other residents belatedly learned of the agonies their manager suffered from the excesses of their residential representative. They paid respects to her strong character and lonely honorable fight against injustice. Since the incident, a civilian petition demanding a law to protect managers of multi-household residences was posted on the e-bulletin board of the Blue House and drew tens of thousands of support clicks.
The case reminds me of the hardship Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl suffers. He has been enduring slander, oppression and attacks from the ruling front for disobeying President Moon Jae-in, Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae and the ruling Democratic Party. The prosecutor general is accused of wrongdoing and faces internal inspections while his aides are demoted.
His suffering resembles that of the supervisor who was doing her job as the gatekeeper of valuable deposits of the residents. The only “mistake” Yoon made, if there’s any, is that he applied the same criminal procedures on the former justice minister and his family members for alleged illegalities as with any others.
Justice Minister Choo stretches her power in appointments of prosecutors and orders internal inspections to threaten prosecutors to obey her under the pretext of “democratic control.” She attacked Yoon for disobedience to the boss. She unilaterally interpreted and employed her role like the residential representative.
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Hong Nam-ki, is another poor case. Yet he at least has not forgotten what he is paid to do by the people: protecting government coffers against the heedless ruling party. But he did not last and soon gave in. He is being accused of cowardice and pretentiousness by feigning revolt while following the orders eventually. He maintains his seat after the president declined his resignation.
The supervisor kept her principle to the end to fulfill her duty. May her soul rest in peace.