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Suspects held in killing of Audi-driving golfing fan

July 04,2017
A young couple who allegedly robbed and killed a 47-year-old woman at a golf driving range in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, on June 24 was arrested Monday from a motel hideout in Seoul. The victim drove an Audi, so the suspects thought she was rich, police said.

The apprehension of 31-year-old Shim Cheon-woo and his girlfriend, 36-year-old Kang Jeong-im, came nine days after the alleged murder and six days after a third suspect, Shim’s 29-year-old second cousin, was arrested while on the run.

The older Shim and Kang met in 2013 working as caddies at a golf course in South Gyeongsang and started dating. The younger Shim told police that his older cousin promised him riches if he helped in a murder plot.

The case goes back to June 24 at around 5 p.m., when the three suspects were casing a basement parking lot of a Changwon driving range in search of rich people to rob. The victim arrived in an Audi A8 sedan. The three suspects parked their Kia Sportage beside the Audi and awaited the driver’s return.

The victim returned to her car at 8:30 p.m. and the two Shims shoved her into the Sportage. Kang allegedly followed in the Audi, according to police. The victim was forced to tell them the pin code for her credit card. Kang and the younger Shim went to check whether the pin code was correct, while the older Shim drove the victim to an isolated, abandoned gas station in Goseong County, about 40 kilometers away. He killed her, according to testimony from the younger Shim, police said. An autopsy of the victim revealed she died of suffocation at around 10:30 p.m. that day.

The suspects abandoned the corpse under a bridge in Jinju, South Gyeongsang, and fled to Suncheon, South Jeolla. They withdrew 4.1 million won ($3,575) using the victim’s credit card on June 25, and went back to Suncheon to get haircuts at a salon to alter their appearances.

On June 27 at around 1:30 a.m., the three were on their way to Haman County, South Gyeongsang, the Shims’ hometown, when the police started pursuing them. The older Shim and Kang fled, but the younger Shim was caught in an apartment complex.

The couple traveled to Seoul and holed up in a motel in Jungnang District, eastern Seoul, since last Wednesday. Suspicious of their behavior, the motel’s owner called the cops Sunday.

BY WEE SUNG-WOOK [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]