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Murderer worried over visitation rights: Cops

June 12,2019
Jeju murder suspect Koh Yu-jeong apparently killed her ex-husband because she feared a recent court ruling that gave him visitation rights to their son might “disturb” her second marriage, police said Tuesday.

In a press briefing announcing the final results of their investigation, officers from the Jeju Dongbu Police Precinct said Koh, 36, admitted killing her ex-husband, a 36-year-old surnamed Kang, dismembering his corpse and throwing the body parts away into the sea and a trash bin. Yet Koh continues to claim that she stabbed him to death in self defense when he tried to rape her, which police do not believe, as the evidence indicate that she planned the killing beforehand.

A profiler ran a test on Koh and reached the conclusion she was sane, police continued.

Jeju police said they were planning to refer the case to prosecutors today on charges of murder, mutilation of a corpse and abandoning body parts. Officers initially left open the possibility Koh had an accomplice, but concluded she acted alone. Kang and Koh divorced two years ago, after Koh gave birth to their son. The son, who’s now six years old, has been living with Koh’s parents on Jeju. Koh remarried in 2017, soon after the divorce, and moved to Cheongju, North Chungcheong. Kang remained in Jeju.

According to police reports, Kang wanted to see their son after separating from Koh, but Koh refused him access. Kang asked a local court for permission to visit him and the court recently granted Kang visiting rights.

The former couple agreed that a visit would take place on May 25 at a pension in Jeju. Koh took a ferry from Wando Port in South Jeolla on May 18 to reach the southern resort island.

CCTV footage showed Koh, Kang and their son entering the pension together on May 25. Police believe Kang was killed that day past 8 p.m. because Kang’s last phone call was with his father around that time.

On May 26, Koh was caught on camera exiting the pension with her son and returning to the place later that day alone, which means their son would have been present in the pension at the time of the murder. Police said the child is currently staying at Koh’s parent’s house. Officers found blood stains at the pension. By the way they were splattered on the wall, Kang apparently resisted and tried to run away but didn’t fight back, police said, which could mean he was drugged before getting stabbed, given his far larger build than Koh’s.

Jeju police said Monday that zolpidem, a type of drug commonly used for the short-term treatment of sleeping problems, was detected in Kang’s bloodstains. Koh stands at 160 centimeters (5 feet 3 inches) and weighs 50 kilograms (110 pounds), whereas Kang was 180 centimeters tall and weighed 80 kilograms.

Koh allegedly dismembered Kang from the point their son left the pension on May 26 to the point she checked out on May 27 at 11:30 a.m. On May 28 at 8:30 p.m., she took a ferry to Wando Port, and about an hour after the ferry departed, she hurled plastic bags containing Kang’s body parts into the sea.

After Koh arrived at a house in Gimpo, Gyeonggi, owned by her father on May 29, she dismembered Kang’s remaining body parts, put them in trash bags and threw them away on May 31, according to police. Police said they discovered a cleanroom suit at the Gimpo house, which Koh appeared to have worn while mutilating Kang’s dead body. The garment was purchased online as she traveled to Gimpo from Jeju, officers said.

BY CHOI CHOONG-IL, KIM JUN-HEE AND LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]