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Police evaluated Sindang Station murderer to be ‘low threat’

Jeon Joo-hwan, suspect of murder of a Seoul Metro employee at Sindang Station, leaves Seoul Namdaemun Police Station, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Jeon Joo-hwan, suspect of murder of a Seoul Metro employee at Sindang Station, leaves Seoul Namdaemun Police Station, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Police evaluated Sindang Station murder suspect Jeon Joo-hwan to be “at low risk” of posing a threat when the victim sued him for stalking last year, a report showed Tuesday.

According to a report released Tuesday by Rep. Lee Sung-man of the Democratic Party of Korea, the police determined that Jeon’s stalking case was a “low threat” based on statements from the victim.

The police ran a checklist on the potential risk that Jeon could pose to the victim when she sued him for stalking in October 2021. After asking the victim whether she or her family members had experienced assault, blackmail or sexual harassment from the perpetrator, police categorized Jeon to be “low risk or riskless,” the lowest of the three-tier system, because there had not been any physical assault.

Before the murder took place earlier this month, Jeon repeatedly harassed the victim, contacting her more than 350 times. The victim reported Jeon in October 2021 for stalking and requested personal protection from the police.

The police did not reassess the potential risk of Jeon's case before the victim was murdered.

"The incident seems to have gotten off on the wrong foot as the stalking case which involved more than 350 attempts to contact that victim was evaluated to be low risk,” Lee said.

“Potential risk evaluations should be held frequently until a case is closed as the situation and the psychological state of the assailant may change,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, the ruling on the stalking and spycam voyeurism accusations against Jeon will be made on Sept. 29. The court was to deliver the sentence on Sept. 15, but the ruling was postponed due to the murder of the victim. Prior to the murder, the prosecution demanded a nine-year imprisonment for Jeon.

Jeon will be tried separately for the murder charge.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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