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Successive Heinous Crimes, Alternatives?
  • By Park ChaeHyun, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2023.09.04 00:11
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▲ On August 19, the suspect in the Sillim-dong Knife Rampage case is leaving Gwanak Police Station in Seoul for questioning (Source: The Chosunilbo)

On August 17, a sexual assault occurred on a hiking trail in Sillim-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul. The suspect was arrested on charges of hitting and sexually assaulting an unknown woman, using a blunt weapon resembling that of brass knuckles. The victim, who was unconscious at the time, died two days after the incident. On August 25, while being sent to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, the suspect claimed, "It was an accidental crime and I had no intention of killing the victim." On July 21, a Sillim- dong Knife Rampage occurred at Sillim Station in Gwanak- gu, Seoul. Two weeks after the incident, a Knife Rampage occurred at Seohyeon Station in Bundang- gu, Seongnam- si, Gyeonggi- do. Since the Sillin- dong Knife Rampage, 399 Killing Notices have been posted on social networks (SNS). Citizens' anxiety is intensifying due to the recent series of abnormal motivations in relation to an increase in violent crimes and the notice of murder on social media.

On August 23, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that among the suspects of the Five Major Violent Crimes, the number of mentally ill increased by 26.8% from 4,774 (as of 2018) to 6,052 last year. The suspect of the Knife Rampage in Sillim- dong was diagnosed with depression in 2015. Similarly, the suspect of the Knife Rampage at Seohyeon Station was diagnosed with a divisive personality disorder in 2020 but was found to have not received treatment. Cho Sung- nam, head of the National Legal Hospital, said, "The strengthening of hospitalization procedures in 2017 led to leaving the management of mentally ill patients to their families. In addition, there are many cases that lead to crimes because the treatment of patients who have to be hospitalized immediately at the time of COVID- 19 has been suspended," he said, closely analyzing the nature of the crime. In addition, according to Lee Soo- jung, a Professor of Criminal Psychology at Kyunggi University, "It is highly likely that loners who were dissatisfied with society were stimulated when the video of the Sillim Station Knife Rampage last month began to spread rapidly online." She then pointed out the social structure, saying, "The social dissatisfaction that was previously suppressed has been set up."

Recently, as violent crimes targeting unspecified targets have occurred frequently, the government is taking various alternative measures to strengthen security. On August 23, Prime Minister Han Deok- soo announced a statement from the Prime Minister at the Seoul Government Complex to prevent the Recurrence of Abnormal Motives for Crimes. "We will actively consider reintroducing the mandatory police system to significantly strengthen our crime prevention capabilities," he said. "We will consider ways to streamline the allocation of manpower within the scope of existing military resources." At the same time, he added, "The government is currently strengthening special security activities to respond to violent crimes," adding, "We will continue special security activities until public anxiety is resolved." In response to the Murder Notice that has been buzzing online for a while, the government said we will make sure to find and strongly punish those who spread violent crimes and fake news. As a judicial measure of Abnormal Motives for Crimes, the government will push for the introduction of, "weapon punishment that does not allow parole," and has declared a new punishment rule for public threats and possession of weapons in public places as soon as possible.

The public's concerns and anger have grown out of control due to the recent series of violent crimes. As for the current situation, the public wants the criminal to be punished properly. In addition, the main opinion is that, "the execution of the death penalty should be revived," in online community bulletin boards and portal news comment windows. Upon hearing the news, many netizens pointed out the current system, including, "Only criminal human rights are human rights, and why not question victims' human rights." People are paying attention to the government's movements. We hope that the government will recognize the seriousness of the current situation and come up with appropriate alternatives to respond to Abnormal Motivational Crimes and strengthen the management of mentally ill people.

By Park ChaeHyun, cub-reporter  parkch2582@naver.com

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