South Korean Human Rights Monitor

1

Revenge Crimes on the Rise

Eunjung Cha January 11, 2013

Last month in Daejeon, located Southeast of Seoul, Ms. Choi, a 38-year-old woman with physical disabilities, was killed by Mr. Sung, a 61-year-old man. Mr. Sung targeted Ms. Choi immediately after his release from prison. Several years back in court, Ms. Choi  stated on the witness stand that Mr. Sung committed violence towards people with disabilities including herself. Consequently, her statement became an important piece of evidence in convicting Mr. Sung leading to his imprisonment. Once Mr. Sung finished his sentence, he took revenge and decided to kill Ms. Choi.

This case has been labeled “retaliatory crimes” meaning victims are usually witnesses and reported crimes and threatened or killed by criminals. It has been a growing issue in Korea for the past few years. According to statistics conducted by the National Police Agency, the number of retaliatory crimes has increased steadily. For instance, there were 70 cases in 2006, 139 cases in 2009, and 142 cases in 2012 (a line graph on the left). [1]

A new policy to protect witnesses was instated this year. It includes “setting up a hot line and GPS trackers between the police and the person who reported crimes”, “protecting witnesses’ information from criminals” and so forth. [2] The problem is, however, the overall system is relatively young and quite weak. Logistically it takes a long time to conduct the process because there is no related department or labor force managing criminal retaliation.

On the contrary, many developed countries have improved their protecting systems for people who witnessed or reported crimes. In the United States, for example, the law “Victim and Witness Protection Act” has been laid down since 1982. It protects witnesses from criminals by providing new identification cards with totally different names. It also provides money for plastic surgery if necessary. [3]

 

Sources

[1] Jihye Yang, “retaliatory crimes have increased by two times for the past seven years…people who reported or witnessed are shivering” (chosun.com, 05 Jan 2013) <http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/05/2013010500137.html> accessed 08 Jan 2013

[2] Incheon District Prosecutor’s Office, documents about providing GPS to victims of crime (2012) <http://www.spo.go.kr/spo/notice/press/press.jsp?article_no=534018&board_no=2&mode=view> accessed 08 Jan 2013

[3] Jihye Yang, “retaliatory crimes have increased by two times for the past seven years…people who reported or witnessed are shivering” (chosun.com, 05 Jan 2013) <http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/05/2013010500137.html> accessed 08 Jan 2013

Image: http://www.herts.police.uk/advice/victims_and_witnesses_of_crime.aspx

Comments (1)

  1. Pingback: Adieu, Korean Gender Reader Version 1.0 | The Grand Narrative

Leave a Comment

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!