The Korea Herald


S. Korea grapples with rise in stabbing incidents

Copycat crime threats posted online further rattle the public

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : Aug. 4, 2023 - 16:15

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Police squads are deployed at Ori Station in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Friday. (Yonhap) Police squads are deployed at Ori Station in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Friday. (Yonhap)

The nation was rattled by a random mass stabbing in a city south of Seoul on Thursday that left 14 injured, just two weeks after a fatal stabbing in a crowded area in Seoul that left one dead and three injured.

Another stabbing case involving a man and his purported former teacher in Daejeon on Friday further raised alarm among the public. On the same day, police arrested a man carrying sharp objects in a shopping mall connected to the Express Bus Terminal in southern Seoul.

Korea has seen a few high-profile violent crimes involving stabbing this year. On March 3, a woman in her 30s wielded a knife on the subway heading to Jukjeon Station in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. On April 17, a male middle school student stabbed a female student at a middle school in Dogok-dong of Seoul's Gangnam district. On July 15, a man in his 60s brandished a knife at a traditional market in Jegi-dong of Seoul's Dongdaemun district. On July 21, a man stabbed pedestrians in Sillim-dong in Seoul's Gwanak district, leaving one dead and three injured.

Meanwhile, President Yoon Suk Yeol on Friday ordered the government to enhance manpower to prevent similar crimes from happening.

"The government should muster up all available police resources in order not to leave people gripped in fear," Yoon, who is on a weeklong summer vacation at a vacation home, was quoted as saying by the presidential office.


Copycat crime threats fan further panic


Meanwhile, a slew of copycat stabbing crime threats have been posted online in South Korea following the Thursday stabbing rampage at a department store in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, that left 14 people wounded.

About an hour after the rampage on Thursday, a copycat crime threat was posted online at around 6:40 p.m., in which the poster theatened to "go on a stabbing rampage near Ori Station," also in Bundang, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday to "kill as many people as possible.“ The writer said he chose the location because his ex-girlfriend lives in the area, and that he no longer desires to live.

Three other mass stabbing threats were posted online on Thursday night, police said Friday. The locations included Jamsil, Seohyeon, and Hanti subway stations in Seoul.

Lists compiling target locations and dates for copycat crime threats have been trending on the social media platform X. The areas included Seohyeon, Ori, Jamsil, Gangnam, and Hanti subway stations, and Nonhyeon-dong in Seoul's Gangnam district. Meanwhile, potential attacks at Seomyeon Station in Busan and Yongsan district in central Seoul were also mentioned as target locations for Saturday. 

The police established a special team dedicated to dealing with such online murder threats, and launched an investigation to hunt down the authors. The police also dispatched squads at the locations mentioned online, armed with body armor and stun guns, according to local reports.