Seoul city councilman gets life in prison for contract killing of wealthy man

October 27, 2014
Kim Hyung-sik, a 44-year-old Seoul city councilman, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday. (Yonhap)

Kim Hyung-sik, a 44-year-old Seoul city councilman, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A Seoul court on Monday sentenced a member of the Seoul municipal council to life in prison for abetting the murder of a wealthy businessman to whom he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Kim Hyung-sik, a 44-year-old Seoul city councilman, was convicted for instigating a friend, identified only by his surname, Paeng, to kill the 67-year-old victim, surnamed Song.

The Seoul Southern District Court said nine jury members delivered a unanimous guilty verdict and a sitting judge upheld the jury’s decision.

“Heavy punishment is necessary considering that Kim does not show remorse for his crime although he has caused the bereaved families great suffering,” Judge Park Jung-soo said in a ruling. Prosecutors had initially sought the death penalty for Kim.

An investigation shows that Kim received a combined 520 million won (US$508,000) in kickbacks and free alcohol from Song in exchange for promising him business favors between October 2010 and December 2011.

Song threatened to upset this year’s election campaign by revealing the unpaid debt after Kim had failed to carry out the promises. The councilor has been pressured to repay the money since late 2012.

Kim ran as a candidate of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy in the June 4 local polls, and won a seat on the Seoul city council. He left the party after being arrested by the police.

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