Time Running out to Find Hwaseong Ripper

      November 14, 2005 22:07

      The statute of limitations will soon be up for the ninth of 10 murders perpetrated by the notorious Hwaseong serial killer between September 1986 and April 1991.

      The statute for the 10th murder expires on April 2 next year, and if the perpetrator is not found by then, the case will likely remain an eternal mystery.

      The ninth murder took place in a wooded area of Hwaseong's Taean district on Nov. 15, 1990 at around 6:30 p.m., when a 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted before being brutally killed. "Memories of Murder," a 2003 film by director Bong Joon-ho, portrays the string of killings that shocked a nation.

      Over 1.8 million man-days are logged in the investigation of the Hwaseong killings, involving more than 18,000 suspects, informants and witnesses -- a distant record in South Korean police history. The murders also prompted demands to extend or scrap the statute of limitations for violent crimes. In August this year, Uri Party lawmaker Moon Byung-ho and 10 of his fellow assemblymen put a bill before the National Assembly that would extend the statute of limitations for violent crimes.

      Choi Won-il, the head of the Hwaseong police station investigating the killings, said, "Living under the same sky as the perpetrator of such unspeakably heinous crimes fills me with shame and rage." He vowed to continue the investigation to the end to bring this killer to justice. "The statute of limitations is of no consequence," he said.

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