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Man with anklet evades security at Incheon

Apr 11,2018
An ex-convict under investigation for rape was able to flee the country despite wearing an ankle monitor, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Monday.

Authorities were investigating allegations that the ex-convict, a 37-year-old man surnamed Shin, drugged and raped a woman last month in Gyeonggi. Shin worked with the woman at a motel, and they decided to go out for drinks one night. He allegedly gave her an alcoholic beverage spiked with sleeping pills, and after she fell unconscious, he carried her to a nearby motel where they had sex.

After police received a complaint from the woman, they summoned Shin for questioning last Wednesday and applied for a warrant to detain him. However, the court turned down the request because Shin was already wearing an ankle monitor from a previous rape conviction.

After police released him from questioning, Shin headed directly to Incheon International Airport and bought a ticket to Vietnam at around 8 p.m. When airport security saw Shin’s ankle monitor, he simply told them that he got permission to leave. In Korea, suspects wearing ankle monitors are allowed to depart the country if they receive permission from their probation officers.

Shin had not received permission, but security staff believed him and allowed him to pass through. There is no procedure for security to verify whether people wearing ankle monitors have received approval to travel abroad, and Shin was also able to get through the passport checkpoint because police had not sent a travel ban request.

Authorities were only able to detect Shin when his probation officer lost the signal to his bracelet, but by the time the officer notified police, Shin’s plane had already left. Korean authorities then contacted Vietnamese police and requested an extradition.

Shin was caught at Vietnamese customs and sent back to Korea the same day. He arrived the following day at Incheon International Airport, where he was arrested. He told officers that he was “taking a vacation to visit a friend in Vietnam.”

On Saturday, police detained Shin for violating his probation. They expect to hand over the case to prosecutors for indictment.

Shin was previously sentenced to prison for raping another woman in 2007 and released after serving three years. His ability to smoothly pass through customs despite wearing an ankle monitor has added to growing criticism of the country’s lax security involving ankle monitors.

A week earlier, another man wearing an ankle monitor because of a rape conviction was able to evade authorities and fled to Japan by turning off his bracelet. Korean authorities found out about his escape only after he landed in Osaka and had to alert the International Criminal Police Organization for assistance. He has yet to be found.

Even suspects who receive permission to travel abroad by probation officers have become a problem. From 2012 to 2016, four out of 237 suspects who received approval to fly overseas have never returned.

BY CHOI KYU-JIN, PARK SA-RA [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]