Appellate court raises ‘spin kick’ assailant’s prison term to 20 yrs

June 12, 2023

An appellate court sentenced the so-called spin kick assailant in the southeastern port city of Busan to 20 years in prison on Monday amid growing social resentment over his brutal attacks on a female stranger apparently for the purpose of rape.

The Busan High Court made the ruling for the assailant who was given a 12-year prison term by a district court last October for indiscriminately assaulting the victim in her 20s near her home in central Busan earlier that year.

The defendant, whose identity has been withheld, is accused of following the victim, to whom he had no personal connection, for 10 minutes all the way to her apartment’s elevator on May 22, 2022, knocking her out with a roundhouse kick to the back of the head and then kept assaulting her until she passed out.

He was sentenced to imprisonment of 12 years in the district court trial after being convicted of attempted murder. But prosecutors have changed his charges to attempted rape murder after detecting his DNA in the jeans worn by her at the time of the assault and demanded a prison term of 35 years in the appellate court hearing.

Prosecutors said the defendant deserved a far heavier sentence, saying he threw the roundhouse kick to her head for the purpose of sexual assault, dragged her to a security camera blind spot and took off her clothes.

The defendant admitted to the assaults but denied any intent of murder or rape.

The appellate court also ordered that the defendant wear a location tracking device for 20 years and his personal information be disclosed in public communications networks for 10 years and banned him from employment in child-related institutions for 10 years.

Convicting him of the attempted rape and murder charges, the court said he committed the crime after viewing the victim as a means of committing a sexual assault.

“He treated the victim, who was an utter stranger, only as an object of his sexual desire and intentionally kicked and trampled her head. He then dragged her away without a moment’s hesitation and attempted to commit a sexual assault against the victim who was bleeding heavily,” the court said.

The “spin kick” assault case has drawn strong media attention after the victim argued that the defendant vowed a revenge murder against her in prison, and his identity and face photo have been arbitrarily disclosed by a YouTuber and a Seoul city councilor.

One of the defendant’s former fellow prisoners reportedly said he openly mentioned retaliation against the victim in the cell, prompting the Ministry of Justice to vow to strengthen its special monitoring of him and make efforts to prevent retaliatory crimes.

Apparently with the Busan case in his mind, President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered the justice ministry Monday to swiftly come up with measures to further disclose the identity of assailants in violent crimes against women, his office said.

This undated file photo shows a court flag. (Yonhap)
This undated file photo shows a court flag. (Yonhap)