The Korea Herald


Sillim rape-murder suspect identity revealed

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Aug. 23, 2023 - 18:32

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A mugshot of 30-year-old Choi Yoon-jong, the suspect accused of raping and murdering a woman in her 30s in a park in Sillim-dong, Seoul on Friday. (Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency) A mugshot of 30-year-old Choi Yoon-jong, the suspect accused of raping and murdering a woman in her 30s in a park in Sillim-dong, Seoul on Friday. (Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency)

The police have disclosed the identity and personal information of the suspect who is accused of raping and beating a woman to death in Seoul’s Sillim-dong as 30-year-old Choi Yoon-jong, Wednesday.

By South Korean law, the police can disclose the identity of a suspect in a criminal case after the Personal Information Disclosure Committee agrees to reveal a suspect's personal information including their photo, name and age. However, problems have arisen in the past since there are no regulations on how recent the photo should be.

While taking mugshots has been enforced since 2010, they cannot be revealed without the suspect's consent. Choi's mugshot is the first to have been released since 2021, when 26-year-old Lee Seok-joon’s mugshot was made public after committing a murder to take revenge on his girlfriend by killing her mother and severely injuring her brother.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency convened the Personal Information Disclosure Committee to discuss whether to reveal the information and identity of Choi, who was arrested on charges of rape and murder on Saturday.

“The cruelty of the crime is recognized in light of the fact that the suspect had meticulously planned the crime by purchasing his weapon in advance and searching for a place to sexually assault a woman in a public space,” the committee said.

“There is sufficient evidence behind the crime, including the suspect’s confession, surveillance camera footage and the tool he used to commit the crime. Also, considering the public anxiety caused by the crime and to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, it is in the public interest to disclose the suspect’s personal information.”

The National Police Agency’s Personal Information Disclosure Committee consists of three police officials and four external experts. Together, they decide whether to make public a suspect’s identity and personal information out of consideration of the cruelty of the crime and the great harm it has caused, in order to prevent such crimes from happening again, provided there is sufficient evidence to convict the suspect and based on the public’s right to know.

Choi allegedly assaulted and raped a woman in her 30s with brass knuckles at a park in Sillim-dong, Seoul on Friday. The woman -- who was revealed to be an elementary school teacher walking to work on the day of the crime -- was pronounced dead the day after. Following her death, the police changed Choi’s charges from rape and assault to rape and murder.

The results of a tentative autopsy revealed that the victim died after being strangled and losing consciousness, according to the National Forensic Service. While she suffered from internal bleeding beneath her scalp, the NFS stated that it is difficult to see cerebral hemorrhage as the direct cause of her death. The final autopsy results will be out later, according to police.

Analysis of Choi’s computer and mobile phone revealed he had searched for “brass knuckles” online, as well as read articles about sexual assault, murder and murder threats. The police plan to conduct a psychopathic diagnostic test and a polygraph test on Choi. So far, they have not proceeded with the polygraph test as Choi has not consented to taking it.