Yeosu resident arrested for murdering neighbors over noisePolice on Monday arrested a 34-year-old resident of an apartment in Yeosu, South Jeolla, on charges of killing and severely injuring his upstairs neighbors over noise complaints.
According to the police, the man killed a couple in their 40s and severely injured the couple’s parents who are in their 60s in an attack during the night at around 12:33 a.m., Monday.
The couple's two children in their teens were safely in their rooms during the attack.
The weapon used in the attack was not identified by the police.
The man turned himself in at the Yeosu Police Station right after the crime.
Similar noise-driven violence and murders have been on the rise in Korea, where 80 percent of the nation live in high-rise apartments.
The issue has been aggravated further by Covid-19 as people spend more time in their homes.
Two weeks ago, a man in his 50s was arrested for throwing an ax at his downstairs neighbor who complained of floor noise at an apartment in Incheon.
In Anyang, Gyeonggi, another man in his 50s was arrested for smearing feces on his upstairs neighbor’s door after a noise dispute in June.
Last year, 42,250 floor noise complaints were lodged to the floor noise management center at Korea Environment Corporation (KECO).
Compared to the 26,257 complaints in 2019, the number of complaints rose by 60.9 percent in a single year.
However, KECO only recognized 7.4 percent of last year's complaints as actual noise, in accordance with their 2014 standards for noise between apartment floors.
While the standards are criticized as being outdated and unsuccessful at determining the actual level of noise that irritate residents, KECO has not revised its standards for the past seven years.
Other developed countries outside of Korea take the issue of residential noise much more seriously.
In Germany, one fine from a residential noise complaint can amount up to 5,000 euros ($5,800).
Britain strictly regulates residential noises from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., and violations can result in a fine of £1,000 ($1,400).
Recently, the Korean government began collaborating with construction companies to restructure buildings or use different materials to reduce floor noise.
In June, the National Assembly passed a revision in construction law that will require new housing units that hold more than 30 households to undergo noise level testing from July 2022.
Although the government is taking action to alleviate the floor noise issue, Pyo Seong-beom, manager of Apartment Housing Culture Research Institute, said that related problems will not be easy to resolve.
“Noise can act as a big irritant for people, and everyone has a difference tolerance for it,” said Pyo.
“Therefore, the ideal way to resolve residential noise conflicts would be to build good relationships with neighbors and establish more administrative bodies to peacefully and effectively mediate disputes.”
BY LEE JIAN [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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