The Korea Herald


‘Mom, I want to live’: Mentally disabled man reaches out to police for help

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 19, 2024 - 10:56

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(Herald DB) (Herald DB)

The South Korean police said it recently found and protected a severely malnourished mentally disabled man, after he made 360 calls to the 112 emergency services and hung up without saying a word.

Jeju Dongbu Police Station tracked down the 40-something man dumpster diving at the Jeju International Airport on March 5, who was in extremely poor health due to not having eaten for days. Authorities have provided emergency medical care for the man, who has since been discharged and is staying at a state-run facility.

According to police officials, the silent calls were the man's plea for help. They noted the man made a call to his mother during the medical care for him, telling her "mom, I want to live."

The local police had grown suspicious over repeated silent calls made to the emergency service in the month of February, and visited the caller's address on March 3 and March 4. Officers did not find the man at the home, instead they found it was filled with garbage and that the man's mother was refusing to talk to police or other government officials.

It was reported that the mother would not give consent to the emergency medical treatment for her son, despite the police trying to persuade her.

Investigators found that the mother had forbidden the man from having contact with other people or visiting facilities for disabled people. This led to him calling the police, despite not being able to describe his situation, and ultimately leaving home to wander the streets looking for food.

The regional government contacted the man's father for consent for the medical treatment, while the police provided 1.8 million won ($1,300) for medical fees and personal expenses.

The police stressed that emergency calls made by people who cannot communicate properly should be dealt with special care, vowing to work with related organizations to protect rights and safety of people with disabilities.