Chinese Korean suspect in ‘torso murder’ case arrested

December 12, 2014

Police have arrested a suspect in a case where a woman’s torso was found on a mountain in Suwon. (Yonhap)

By Kim Rahn

Police have arrested a suspect in a case where a woman’s torso was found on a mountain in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.

Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency officials said on Friday they arrested Park, an ethnic Korean-Chinese, 56, at a motel in Suwon at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The arrest comes a week after a hiker found a plastic bag containing the torso on Mount Paldal on Dec. 4. The torso was missing its vital organs.

Hours before Park was arrested, police also found four plastic bags containing pieces of flesh on the bank of the Suwon Stream, about 1.2 kilometers away from where the torso was found. Police confirmed the flesh and the torso were from the same body.

A tip from a Suwon resident was the key to the arrest — a homeowner told police that Park, who had rented a room in late November, had been out of contact for about two weeks.

Police went to the room, where they found blood, which was later confirmed to belong to the victim. They also found the same kind of plastic bags as those containing the body parts.

They suspect the victim was Park’s live-in girlfriend, Kim, also an ethnic Korean-Chinese, 48.

Park was entering the motel with another woman when police arrested him.

“The suspect is denying the crime and exercising the right to remain silent,” an agency official said.

“But we believe we can prove he did it as we have the evidence. We’ll keep investigating into why and how he killed the woman and where he put the rest of the body.”

He said the suspect used various false names and that Park might not be his real surname.

“He only admitted that he is an ethnic Korean-Chinese with Chinese nationality,” the official said.

The torso was found without its major organs, including the heart, liver and lungs. A forensic investigation team only determined the victim was a woman with blood type A.

After the remains were found, police mobilized 440 officers to search for the remaining body parts and any other evidence near the mountain. Forensic experts compared DNA from the torso to that of people reported missing.

The four plastic bags containing flesh were found on Thursday afternoon, and one of them contained woman’s underwear. The bags were the same color and type as those containing the torso.

The discovery of the torso caused fear in the region, especially because Suwon was the scene of another homicide in April 2012. An ethnic Korean-Chinese, Oh Won-choon, kidnapped and killed a 23-year-old woman and cut the body into more than 300 pieces. Oh was jailed for life last year.

In both instances, speculation arose that the people were killed so their organs could be harvested and sold, something police said was unlikely.