|▲ Stalking crimes (Source: Smart Seoul Police Blog – Seoul Police Story)|
Kim Tae-hyun is a murder suspect in the “The Three Mothers and Daughters of No Won-gu” crime. He caused a stir in the world with his terrible crime on the 9th, when he was sent to be prosecuted, and his motive for the crime was reported. According to a briefing held at Nowon Police Station in Seoul, the incident started as follows. Around November last year, Kim Tae-hyun and victim A met through an online game, and exchanged information over in-game chat and Kakao Talk. After exchanging information they met three times. January 23rd was the last time they met. Kim Tae-hyun and A had a verbal altercation with their acquaintances at the dinner table. Victim A blocked Kim Tae-hyun, saying, "Don't come or contact me," and "I have nothing to say." However, Kim Tae-hyun wandered around until the evening of the 24th and tried to contact the victim A while waiting. Nevertheless, when victim A avoided him, Kim Tae-hyun stated, "I felt angry and betrayed, so I decided to kill her."
An important point in this case is the behavior of 'stalking'. The victim never gave their address to Kim Tae-hyun, and text messages with an acquaintance were provided as evidence that Kim Tae-hyun continuously stalked victim A. In response to this evidence the police are continuing their investigation, weighing the possibility that Kim Tae-hyun stalked victim A. As interest in this situation has attracted public attention, the seriousness of stalking crimes have been put into the spotlight.
According to the National Police Agency, crimes related to stalking and dating violence have nearly doubled in the past three years. These types of crimes are cruel, they go beyond just bullying and can lead to assault and murder. As such, comprehensive strategies are necessary to solve the social problems which lead to stalking and dating violence crimes. On April 13 at a Cabinet meeting about the implementation of the 'stalking crimes law', President Moon Jae-in stated "When I think about the murder of the three mothers and daughters, I feel desperate." He also stated "Stalking crimes should be thoroughly prevented and eradicated." The key points in the newly proposed state measures are to strengthen punishment for perpetrators and provide substantial and systematic protection for victims.
First of all, the level of punishment for stalking, including fines, will be increased to imprisonment or higher fines by laws that will be enacted within the first half of this year. In particular, the government has decided to take strict measures against stalking and dating violence, which includes assault and intimidation, through criminal charges and arrest. In addition, in order to strengthen protection and support for victims, the ministry will use institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family to provide counseling, protection and healing activities. Emergency shelters will also be provided for up to a month for victims.
Above all, the most important thing is increasing knowledge and awareness of stalking in society as a whole. To this end, the company said it plans to expand education on violence prevention and actively use mass media campaigns.
Regular additional inspections and institutional supplementation have been ordered so that stalking measures will be implemented effectively. While a stalking punishment law passed the National Assembly for the first time in 22 years, there is still room for improvement in that the focus is on "punishment of perpetrators" rather than "protection of victims". In addition, the level of punishment has been raised, but the "crime against injustice" clause, which requires the victim to express his desire to punish the perpetrator, has been maintained, raising concerns that the victim cannot speak openly about their desire to punish the perpetrator for fear of retaliation. As stalking-related crimes such as the recent stalking of women in their 60s and the murder of three mothers and daughters in Changwon have occurred, the discussion of victim personal protection and stalking punishment should continue.
By Shin Min-joo, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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