The Korea Herald

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Police decline to detain rape suspect 'because he is old'

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Nov. 17, 2023 - 11:48

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A recent media report showed that local police did not arrest an 80-something man suspected of rape and left him unsupervised, citing that he was very old and is not a flight risk.

The suspect, whose identity was withheld by authorities, is accused of attacking a woman in her 80s at her apartment in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, on June 2. The victim's son saw the attack and overpowered the suspect, turning him over to police who were called to the scene.

Despite apprehending the suspect, police did not arrest him and sent him home after questioning him at the scene. Considering the suspect's age and that his place of residence was known to authorities, officials decided that he posed no threat of fleeing.

South Korean law states that a person caught in the act of a crime can be arrested by anyone -- including those who are not officers of the law -- without a warrant. The law also states that police can arrest a suspect without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that they have committed a crime punishable by at least three years in prison.

Police said the preliminary measures were taken in consideration of the suspect's age, and that there are no problems concerning the procedures concerning the victim.

Police asked prosecutors to charge him with rape causing injury, but did not detain him or take other measures other than to warn him not to approach the victim.

"(The suspect) is still roaming free about the neighborhood. He is free while my mother is practically imprisoned," the victim's son was quoted as saying.