Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teen beaten to death for 'gossip'

The Joongang Ilbo and Korea Times report on a shocking murder of a 15 year-old girl by middle school dropouts. As the Joongang Ilbo describes it:
A gang of teenage dropouts took ruthless revenge on a member who gossiped, holding her hostage for four days as they beat her to death - all while the kidnapped girl’s parents made no effort to locate her.

The blanket-wrapped body of the 15-year-old, identified only by her surname, Kim, floated to the surface of the Han River last Thursday, eight days after police say her friends locked her inside a house and began their onslaught.

Police have arrested the leaders of the mob, a boy named Jung and a girl named Choi. Warrants have been issued for three others involved in the attack, as well as a 19-year-old man surnamed Lee who allegedly helped dispose of the girl’s body after it had been drained of blood to make it lighter to carry. All of the suspects except Lee are 15 years old.
The article also notes that police haven't released a cause of death (a Korean-language article is here). One assumes it's because they don't know, and not because it's too disturbing (when a 13 year-old girl was raped and murdered in Busan in February, police informants were more than willing to release - without proof - apparently erroneous theories that she might have been held captive and raped repeatedly over a period of days - something that must have cheered her family to hear).

The Korea Times adds that
when Choi heard that Kim had been talking behind their backs calling them “slutty,” she beat Kim up for four days. The other four joined in and beat her to death.
Other cases like this have occurred before, and it seems isolating someone and having a group beat them for an extended period of time is not uncommon, usually because they are 'love rivals,' or because the victim was thought to have talked about the attackers behind their back or on the internet. In March 2009, a girl "was beaten for "cheating with another man"":
A 17-year-old mentally disabled girl was killed after being beaten almost daily over 21 days by four teens who lived with her, police said yesterday. Seongnam police requested an arrest warrant for the four teenagers on suspicion of assault and homicide yesterday.

They allegedly tied the victim, identified only as Yoo, to a chair for two to three hours and dropped a knife with the blade facing down or poked her with needles under the guise of giving her a tattoo. They also confessed to whipping her with a jump rope.
Lovely. A case similar to this received coverage in New Zealand when a group of Korean girls studying there attacked a 'love rival:'
Six schoolgirls are likely to face serious charges after they allegedly held a 16-year-old girl captive for more than an hour while they punched, kicked and burnt her with cigarettes during an horrific attack in Auckland last month.
In another case, a girl was isolated and beaten on camera in December of 2006. As this article relates, the reason for the group assault on a lone girl was quite similar to the situation in New Zealand:
The group allegedly took the victim to an apartment of one of the suspects on Dec. 8 and held her there from 12 to 4 p.m., beating her nearly continuously. The leader of the gang told police that the group assaulted the girl because they thought she had spread rumors that caused the leader’s boyfriend to break off their relationship. The victim denied that claim, police said.

“Two members of the gang beat her up and the other two videotaped the scene with a cell phone camera to show it to other friends,” a police official said. “One of the gang sent the clip to another friend, who allegedly edited and posted the clip on the Internet.”

More such examples of beatings are looked at here and here. In one, three teenage boys were arrested along with a 15 year-old girl in Busan because the girl asked the boys to rape her 14 year-old classmate as a favor, which they did. In another case, a March 2009 assault on a girl by a group of girls in Incheon who repeatedly kicked her in the face was videoed and put on the internet.

The Korea Times related more of the story, noting that the girls were barely punished by the school for the beating, and that it only became an issue after the video was spread online.

Most of these stories have featured girls as both victims and attackers, but of course, that's not always the case, as in this story of a middle school boy beaten to death in Cheongju in November 2008.

Such violence occurs in elementary schools as well, but one can't help but wonder where children would get the idea that violence is any way to solve problems.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The teenage dropouts knew to drain the blood to make the body lighter? Creepy that they thought to do this and knew how.