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[Newsmaker] Korean travel columnist murdered in the Philippines

A well-known Korean travel columnist was found shot to death near Manila on Sunday morning, according to the Korean Embassy in the Philippines and the Korean police.

A passerby made a local police report after finding Joo Young-wook, 58, dead in a forest by a road in Antipolo, a city east of Manila, at around 7:15 a.m. June 16.

Joo had a bullet wound on his forehead; his mouth was covered, and his hands were tied behind him with duct tape.


Local police found his hotel room key and confirmed it was Joo, who had stayed at a hotel in Makati, about 10 kilometers away from where his body was found.

The Korean Embassy in the Philippines was contacted by the hotel at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, and informed the National Police Agency and Joo’s family.

The deceased had engaged in marketing research before he started running a travel agency called Bestravel in 2013. He had written about food and travel. He was also president of Mensa Korea, a group of people with IQ in the top 2 percent.

Joo left Korea for the Philippines on June 14, and was scheduled to check out from the hotel on June 17.

The exact time of his death has not been confirmed.

The NPA sent a three-person team, consisting of an international crime detective, a forensics agent and a profiler, to the Philippines on Wednesday. They are investigating the case with local police.

They plan to look for fingerprints on the duct tape used to tie the victim and his belongings. They are also going through telecommunication records to track his path in the Philippines.

Fifty-three Koreans have been murdered in the Philippines from 2012 through last year. Joo is the first Korean murder victim this year in the Philippines.

By Kim So-hyun (