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Man says he killed mother for cash

Jan 15,2018
The 35-year-old man who fled to New Zealand after allegedly murdering his mother and two relatives told Yongin Dongbu police on Sunday he did it for the money, after being repatriated to Korea on Thursday and arrested on Saturday.

“I was after my mother’s wealth and carried out the planned crime,” said Kim Sung-gwan. “After my mother remarried, I saw her create a family with people I don’t have a particular affinity for and after running into some financial trouble, my emotions got to me. So I devised a plan to steal my mother’s money and go to New Zealand.”

Kim allegedly stabbed his 55-year-old mother and 15-year-old stepbrother to death in their Yongin, Gyeonggi, apartment on Oct. 21.

On the same day, he allegedly stabbed his 57-year-old stepfather to death at a rest area in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon. Because of the heinous nature of his crime, Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency decided to reveal Kim’s full name and a picture of his face to the public on Friday.

Kim also allegedly stole about 100 million won ($94,680) from two of his mother’s bank accounts and exchanged it for about 100,000 New Zealand dollars. He reportedly spent 7 million won on airfare and housing and another 4 million won on a Prada bag, a Ferragamo wallet and other brand-named products at the duty-free shop at Incheon International Airport. In New Zealand, Kim allegedly bought a Mercedes-Benz SUV and furniture.

Kim is detained on charges of intentional homicide by robbery, instead of parricide charges. Intentional homicide by robbery has a heavier punishment than parricide in Korea, as the convicted can face the death penalty or a life sentence.

Initially, Kim told police he unintentionally killed his family “after getting into an argument.”

Police reported that his behavior before and after the crimes, including cleaning the site of the crime and putting flour on the dead bodies, made it seem like he planned the murders.

Police said that their possession of Kim’s tablet PC played a critical role in obtaining his confession.

After returning to Korea on Nov. 1, Kim’s wife, surnamed Jung, brought Kim’s tablet to police and told them it was used by her husband. When police investigated the search history on the tablet, they found that Kim had previously looked up “how to stab someone,” “deep into the carotid artery,” “hammer,” “agreement on the extradition of criminals” and searches related to escaping to another country after committing a crime.

“I did inform my wife about my criminal plans beforehand,” Kim reportedly told police, “but she did not know that I committed the crime with the intent to steal money.”

Police said even if Jung was tricked by her husband, “Jung helped her husband plan the crime beforehand and has to face charges as an accomplice.”

Jung was detained on charges of parricide and will face trial.

BY CHOI MO-RAN, ESTHER CHUNG AND LAURA SONG [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]