Police Chief Resigns over Mishandling of Murder Case

Write : 2012-04-09 14:11:10 Update : 2012-04-10 08:27:24

Police Chief Resigns over Mishandling of Murder Case

ANCHOR: National Police Agency Commissioner General Cho Hyun-oh has offered to step down to assume responsibility for what he says was poor police work that led to the murder of a 28-year-old woman last Sunday. Our Bae Joo-yon has more.

REPORT: In a statement to the Korean people on Monday, Commissioner General Cho Hyun-oh of the National Police Agency apologized for the police’s mishandling of the case of a 28-year-old woman who was kidnapped and murdered in Suwon City earlier this month.

Cho conveyed condolences to the woman’s bereaved family members and asked for forgiveness, admitting the police’s carelessness led to the murder of the young woman. He added that the police had deeply disappointed the people by lying and withholding facts of the case, and he is stepping down to assume responsibility.

However, Cho said before he leaves office, he will put forth his best efforts to prevent the recurrence of such an incident, including revamping police organizations so the 112 national security hotline center will be placed under the direct authority of the police chief.

Presidential Spokesman Park Jung-ha told reporters Monday that President Lee Myung-bak has decided to accept Commissioner Cho's resignation and added the government will soon begin looking for his successor.

Last Sunday, the 112 security hotline center received a call from the 28-year-old victim around 10:50 p.m. Despite the urgency of the situation, roughly 20 hotline operators only listened and did nothing for more than six minutes as they heard the victim’s screams while her kidnapper allegedly attempted to rape her. The operators also failed to accurately convey to police the victim's location, which she had clearly explained to the hotline center. The police officers wasted valuable time searching for her in the wrong places as a result.

The hotline center also lied that the duration of the call from the victim was around one minute and 20 seconds when, in fact, the call had lasted for more than seven-and-a-half minutes.

Based on the suspect’s testimony about the time of the woman’s death, police had around six hours to rescue the victim.

The suspect, identified as Oh Won-chun, is a 42-year-old Chinese national who is residing in South Korea illegally. He was arrested by police last Monday some ten hours after the murder.

Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.

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