Subway murder sparks fury over South Korea’s stalking laws

Subway murder sparks fury over South Korea’s stalking laws
At a protest in Seoul on Thursday night a woman holds a sign saying 'stop femicide'

Away from women’s restroom in a subway station within the South Korean capital is a plaque that reads: “Women Friendly Seoul. ”

The words, meant to ensure women of their protection, have become tragically ironic. Last week, inside the restroom, a young woman who seem to worked at the place was brutally killed. The man suspected of killing her had been stalking her for a long time.

The wall beneath the plaque has given that become a shrine of messages left as notes, with women and men of all ages coming to communicate their fury, dread, and sorrow.

“I want to be alive in late my workday, inch reads one. “Is it too much in order to ask, to be secure to reject individuals I don’t like? inch reads another.

The mother of a teen girl cries since she scans the messages. “Where have we gone so wrong? ” the girl asks, now questioning whether to allow her daughter to travel to college alone.

Shocking killing

The details of this homicide have shocked the country. The 28-year-old have been working her normal evening shift on the subway station, not aware she was being watched.

Her claimed attacker, 31-year-old Jeon Joo-hwan, waited for over an hour outside the toilets, wearing gloves along with a disposable shower cap, before following her inside and stabbing her to death.

It was the day before he was due to be sentenced for stalking the girl.

People have left Post-it note messages at the murder scene expressing their anger and fear

The nuisance started in 2019, a year after the pair began working together. Jeon known as his colleague more than 300 times pleading her to date him, threatening to harm her if she refused.

When the lady reported him final October, he has been fired from their job and arrested. But despite a police investigation and also a request to the courts for him to be detained, he has been never imprisoned or given a restraining order.

The sufferer was placed under law enforcement protection for a month, until they concluded there was nothing substantial to report. Jeon then continued in order to threaten and stalk.

Since their little girl’s death, her moms and dads and two youthful sisters have barely left the memorial home, where her body still is situated, surrounded by plants from remorseful politicians.

The family are devastated, not only by way of a loss, but since she never informed them what the lady was going through. Therefore traumatised is the girl mother, she challenges to speak. She has decided to protect her daughter’s identity.

The victim's uncle looks at flowers sent to the funeral home where his niece's body lies

“We never ever worried about her, ” her uncle tells me. “She was therefore smart and independent”. With pride he recalls how the girl was top of her class, successful herself a scholarship or grant to university in Seoul.

Because the oldest of three girls, she appeared out for her siblings. These past years she had demonstrated no sign associated with suffering, he says, suggesting this was because the lady had not wanted to problem them.

The only person she confided in was her attorney, who she last messaged on the morning of her murder, the day before the girl stalker’s sentencing. “We are almost there”, she wrote.

The girl family are now viewing, along with the rest of the nation, the horrifying details of her case occur. They have exposed weak points in South Korea’s stalking laws and led to accusations the country does not treat violence against women seriously enough.

Anti-stalking laws and regulations

Until last year, harassment was classed like a misdemeanour, punishable only by a small fine. An anti-stalking regulation was finally exceeded in October, but many argued it was inadequate and would not protect victims, primarily because of its stipulation that a criminal can only be prosecuted with the consent of the victim.

This loophole, they say, helps stalkers to anstoß their victims in to withdrawing cases – in the same way Jeon attempted to threaten his victim. Jeon reportedly told police he murdered her because he resented her for taking lawful action.

A note posted outside the subway station reads ‘how many more women need to die for this country to change?’

Information from South Korea’s Nationwide Police Agency shows that since the stalking law came into force last year, 7, 152 stalking arrests have been made, but with only 5% of the suspects detained. In cases where police applied to the particular courts to get the suspect detained, one in three requests had been denied.

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has acknowledged the country’s stalking laws are insufficient and has ordered the particular Justice Ministry in order to strengthen them.

Prof Lee Soo-jung, a criminal psychologist who advises the government, says she could hardly sleep after she heard about the murder. “We were not in a position to protect her, therefore yes, we unsuccessful her, ” the girl admits.

The professor is recommending the particular ministry remove the clause that requires victims to agree to a prosecution. Meanwhile, the Great Court has proposed that stalking potential foods who are not held should be given restraining orders.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks in New York


But despite these types of promises, anger is growing. This week, hundreds of people gathered in Seoul dressed in black, in order to protest and mourn the victim.

The girl was failed, the particular protestors shouted, simply by her employer, the police, and the courts, making her death systematic of a much bigger problem. They fright it could happen to any of them, that no space is safe.

Secure spaces

It has evoked memories of a similar murder six in years past, when a woman within her 20s has been stabbed to passing away in a public restroom near Gangnam train station, by a man which later said he killed her since revenge for all the women who looked upon him.

To the protesters, this murder is definitely proof that absolutely nothing has changed. “We’ve already been fooled before, that will change is coming”, the organisers bellowed over the loudspeakers. “Let’s see what happens on this occasion. ”

“We don’t need brand new laws, ” said Choi Jin-hyup, movie director of the group Women Link. “What we need would be to change authorities’ behaviour victims. ” The girl blames the government, that has tied itself in knots over women’s rights.

Throughout the recent election advertising campaign, the president pledged to close the particular Gender Equality Ministry, declaring it outdated because structural sexism no longer existed. When the gender minister went to the scene of the murder, she told reporters she did not believe this was a case of gender-based violence. There are now calls for her to resign.

23-year-old museum curator Lee Chai-hui doesn't feel safe as a young woman in Korea

At the subway train station, 23-year-old Lee Chae-hui lays a white flower and ribbon her head.

“I’m very furious, ” she states. “We keep confirming these crimes because just another mindless murder, but women are continuously stalked and attacked, and the politicians are ignoring it. People talk about how South Korea is a safe location, but as a lady in my 20s I can’t relate to this whatsoever, I feel I live in a very dangerous society. ”

Chae-hui’s close friends have a phrase they use to congratulate each other: “We survived a later date. ”

The emotion is echoed within dozens of Post-it messages asking: “How a lot more women need to expire for this country to change? ”