Restraining order doesn't stop man from killing wife with a swordPolice are under fire after a restraining order against a man failed to prevent him from approaching and killing his estranged wife with a sword in front of his father-in-law on Friday.
The murder comes close on the heels of another spree of murders committed by a man who killed two women, one before and one after cutting off his location-tracking ankle monitor, in August.
According to police, a 49-year-old man, identified only by his surname Jang, murdered his wife with a Japanese-style sword in Hwagok-dong of Gangseo District, western Seoul, around 2 p.m. on Friday and was taken into custody soon after. His arrest warrant was issued on Sunday.
He had been separated from his wife since May and was subject to a restraining order, in place to prevent him from accessing his wife's house. However, Jang continued to harass her and violated the restraining order by visiting the victim’s home late at night last month.
The victim was reportedly killed while visiting Jang’s house with her father after Jang told her to come pick up their children’s clothes.
While arguing with Jang over the divorce, the victim asked her father to record the scene with his phone camera, prompting Jang to brandish a 1-meter-long (3.2-foot-long) Japanese sword, which he then used to kill the woman.
Police permission is required to gain possession of any blade longer than 15 centimeters (6 inches) in length, and owners are required to undergo a background check on their criminal history and mental illness.
Jang reportedly received the sword as a gift and registered it through this process.
Shortly after the crime, Jang reported it to the police himself and was arrested by officers dispatched to the scene.
According to police, Jang told them that he was “too emotional to remember the situation properly.” At the time of the crime, Jang was sober and had no history of mental illness.
The victim’s father told MBC that his daughter suffered from domestic violence and intimidation at Jang’s hands for years.
“She told me that whenever they argued, he threatened her with a weapon,” the victim’s father said. “She would call me and beg me to come save her.”
The victim’s father added that Jang did not want a divorce and visited the victim’s house late at night sometime last month to harass her, in violation of the restraining order she had obtained from a court.
The case raises questions about police willingness to properly enforce legal instruments to prevent further crime by individuals with a history of violence.
Last week, Justice Minister Park Beom-kye issued an apology saying that the ministry’s monitoring system, which he had previously praised as a highly successful preventive program only in July, had failed to stop a repeat sex offender from breaking free from his tracking device and killing two women at the end of August.
In that case, a 56-year-old man named Kang Yun-seong turned himself in to the Songpa Police Precinct on Aug. 29 and confessed that he had killed a woman three days earlier, before breaking off his location-tracking ankle monitor the next day and killing another woman shortly after.
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com]