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Police mull publicly naming suspect in case of dismembered body in Han River

Police are to review revealing the identity of a suspect in the murder of a 32-year-old man whose torso was found without a head or limbs in the Han River on Aug. 12.

Gyeonggi Bukbu Provincial Police Agency said Monday a committee was to be launched to decide whether to make the suspect’s identity public and to what scope.

The suspect, a 39-year-old motel employee, turned himself in to Jongno Police Station on Saturday after police identified the victim via fingerprint analysis after a severed right arm was found Friday some 3 kilometers from where the dismembered torso had been floating.

Police escort the suspect to Uijeongbu District Court for arrest warrant hearing Sunday. (Yonhap)
Police escort the suspect to Uijeongbu District Court for arrest warrant hearing Sunday. (Yonhap)

The current law on violent crimes allows the disclosure of a criminal suspect’s personal information, including name and face, in the case of particularly vicious crimes with grave consequences, in order to guarantee the public’s right to know and to prevent a repeat offense.

The law permitting the release of criminal suspects’ identities came into effect in April 2010 following public demand to release the information of convicted serial killer Kang Ho-sun, who murdered 10 women, including his wife and mother-in-law, from 2005 to 2008.

The practice is rare and in most cases the identities of criminal suspects are protected.

The suspect in the case of the dismembered torso found in the Han River is believed to have murdered a guest at the motel where he worked on Aug. 8, later dismembering and disposing of the body on Aug. 12.

During police questioning, the suspect reportedly told police he committed the crime “out of impulse” when the victim “talked down to (him)” and “refused to pay the motel bill of 40,000 won ($33).”

By Kim Arin (