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Detective admits to coercing testimony in 1980s murder case

A police officer has admitted to torturing a 53-year-old surnamed Yun during the investigation into the Hwaseong serial killings in the 1980s to 1990s. Yun was later convicted for the eighth murder in the case.

Suwon District Prosecutors' Office public relations officer speaks during a press briefing on Dec. 12, 2019. (Yonhap)
Suwon District Prosecutors' Office public relations officer speaks during a press briefing on Dec. 12, 2019. (Yonhap)

Local reports said Friday the Suwon Prosecutors’ Office recently called in three former detectives who investigated Yun for questioning.

One of the officers acknowledged that he had deprived Yun of sleep. But he denied that he had beat Yun or forced him to do squat jumps as alleged by Yun. He attributed that misconduct to another investigator, who has since died.

At Yun and his defense team’s request, prosecutors are revisiting Yun’s conviction for the eighth crime in the Hwaseong serial killings, in which 10 people were raped and murdered in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, from 1986 to 1991.

Sentenced to life in prison, Yun was released on parole in 2009 after serving some 20 years. Last month, he filed for a retrial, citing malfeasance including the police’s abuse of power during his investigation, after Lee Chun-jae, convicted of raping and killing his sister in law, admitted to the serial killings. 

The detective’s admission stands in sharp contrast to his denial during prior police questioning, when he said he did not abuse his investigative power.

Meanwhile, media reports also said Friday that a former National Forensic Service employee recently questioned by the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office exercised his right to silence. He was questioned on his possible involvement in the fabrication of a lab report that led to Yun’s conviction. 

Earlier, prosecutors revealed that the National Forensic Service manipulated the lab report so that Yun’s body hair matched that of a potential suspect.

While prosecutors suspect police also played a role in tampering with evidence, they are searching for other forensic workers who might have been involved in drawing up the report.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)

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