|▲ It's a stalking crime image|
The recent "Jeon Joo-hwan stalking murder case" reignited the controversy over the seriousness of stalking crimes. Jeon Ju-hwan, the suspect in the murder case, threatened the victim, who was a colleague of the Seoul Transportation Corporation. He made contact and illegally filmed videos, more than 300 times since 2019. In response, the victim sued Jeon Joo-hwan for stalking, but the court said, "The residence is constant and there is no fear of destroying evidence or fleeing." The warrant was also rejected on the grounds that the suspect's Certificate of Accounting was taken into account. Later, on the night of September 14, 2022, Jeonju-hwan confirmed the victim's overtime work through the Transportation Corporation's internal network, "Metranet," watched the victim enter the women's bathroom for patrol, followed her and tragically killed her.
The reason why we are furious about this murder, is that the frequency of encountering these stalking crime cases is increasing. The, "An In-deuk Murder Case" in 2019, "The Murder of Three Mothers and Daughters in Nowon-gu, Seoul" in 2021, and "The Stalking Murder in Jeju Island," in July, all started as stalking crimes and ended with murder. Looking at stalking crimes on a blunt basis and dealing with complacency is causing a colossal effect of stalking crimes that are becoming more frequent and cruel. Currently, the stalking punishment law imposes up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 30 million won for violations. Regarding the punishment law, many experts say, "It is only a slap in the face compared to the possibility that stalking crimes can lead to serious violent crimes," and in particular, there are many voices calling for the abolition of the, "anti-judgmental punishment," clause. "Crime of non-judgmental punishment," means a crime that cannot be punished if the victim expresses his/her intention not to press charges against the perpetrator, and if he/she expresses his/her intention to press further charges against the perpetrator even after the indictment, he/she can dismiss the indictment. Cha Jin-ah, a Professor at Korea University's Graduate School of Law, strongly criticized these provisions, saying, "There is a concern that the perpetrator may engage in secondary acts of abuse that urge the victim to agree."
As the controversy continued, prosecutors and police held a meeting of the Stalking Crime Response Council on the 22nd. At the meeting, institutional improvement alternatives such as abolishing anti-punishment crimes, conducting a full investigation of stalking cases, establishing a stalking information-linked management system, and sharing risk information were presented. Hwang Byung-joo, head of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, said, "If concerns about harm to victims are present, the results are irreversible or fatal," adding, "I think it is a serious problem for more people to lose faith in daily safety and feel threatened by the people around them." Kim Hee-joong, director of the National Police Agency's Criminal Affairs Bureau, said, "People's anxiety over stalking crimes has increased. I think the two organizations need to cooperate closely to protect stalking victims more actively and punish the perpetrators strictly, so that the people can live in peace," he said. In addition, the prosecution and police announced that they plan to continue to discuss improvements to the related systems that can rigorously respond to stalking crimes and protect victims.
Regarding the "Jeon Ju-hwan Sindang Station murder case," many people say, "The station employee was killed by the court and the state." This means that complacency and light punishment by the court and the state contributed to the deaths of victims of stalking crimes. In order to not repeat the harrowing cases that took place earlier, we must recognise that stalking crimes soon lead to violent crimes. In addition, courts, prosecutors, and police are expected to urgently make efforts to lead to the improvement of the system beyond recognition of the seriousness of the problem.
By Seo Ji-min, cub-reporter email@example.com
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