Kidnapped student killed in Manila

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Kidnapped student killed in Manila

A Korean student kidnapped in the Philippines over a month ago was discovered dead in Manila, officials in Seoul confirmed yesterday.

While this was the first known case of a Korean studying in Manila being abducted and killed, it was the fourth murder of a Korean in the country this year.

The unnamed female student went missing after she caught a cab in Pasay City in Metro Manila on March 3 while on her way to meet a friend, according to a Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs official yesterday.

The abductors contacted the friend via phone and text messages afterward, demanding a large ransom. But they did not respond to police requests to confirm the safety of the Korean woman.

One of the suspected kidnappers was arrested by Philippine police late Tuesday evening. They later discovered the decomposing body of the young woman in the kidnappers’ hideout. Exact details of her death have not been released. The victim was identified by her clothing.

The woman’s younger brother, who was also in the Philippines, tried to identify the body but was unable because the corpse was so badly decomposed. Philippine police requested a DNA test and dental examination. The abduction, which took place over a month ago, was not reported as authorities were trying to free the young woman.

Local police said there appeared to have been at least three kidnappers, including the taxi driver abductor.

A month ago, Philippine authorities said they found the corpse of another person who may have been involved in the student’s abduction.

Korean officials have worked closely with the local police and their investigation over the past month, said the officials. A Korean police officer was dispatched to Manila.

Since 2009, there have been 40 Koreans killed in the Philippines as Koreans have poured into the country to start businesses, study English and play golf. Between 2009 and 2013, 44 percent of some 160 murder cases of Korean nationals abroad occurred in the Philippines, according to the Foreign Ministry. In 2010, the Korean government pushed for the establishment of a Korean Desk under the Philippine National Police to handle crimes involving Koreans.

On Sunday, a 45-year-old Korean business owner surnamed Shin was fatally shot while eating dinner with his family at an outdoor restaurant in Angeles City, a tourist city north of Manila, by an unknown gunman who escaped on a motorcycle.

In February, a 65-year-old Korean tourist was also fatally shot in Angeles City by unidentified motorcyclists.

Last year, 13 Koreans - mostly business owners - were killed in the Philippines, and there were several attempted murders. The crimes usually involved robbery or were some kind of business dispute.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are some 80,000 Koreans residing in the Philippines, of which 30,000 are students.

“Though the Philippine police and our police tried our utmost to secure the student’s safe release, the result is regrettable,” a foreign affairs official said. “So such a case does not recur, we will demand strong attention to the safety of our student community in the Philippines.”

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]


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