The Korea Herald


Suspect in murder of girlfriend's mugshot, name made public

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 22, 2024 - 15:45

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This photo released by the Suwon District Public Prosecutors' Office on Monday shows the mugshot of Kim Re-a, 26, with the text that reads, This photo released by the Suwon District Public Prosecutors' Office on Monday shows the mugshot of Kim Re-a, 26, with the text that reads, "This person is presumed to be innocent until a guilty verdict is confirmed." (Suwon District Public Prosecutors' Office)

The personal information of a 26-year-old South Korean man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death and injuring the victim's mother was released online Monday.

Kim Re-a's full name, age and mugshot were posted by the Suwon District Public Prosecutors' Office on its homepage, after its deliberation committee on revealing information of suspects reached a decision earlier this month.

The suspect has been indicted on charges of murdering his 21-year-old girlfriend on March 25, and also on a charge of attempted murder of the victim's 46-year-old mother at his home in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. Investigators say he committed the crime because the victim tried to end their romantic relationship.

It was found that Kim had violent outbursts during their relationship, leaving bruises on the victim's arm, destroying her phone and reportedly saying, "If she leaves me, I'll kill her and kill myself." The alleged behaviors led to the victim wanting her mother to accompany her when she visited the suspect's home to break off the relationship.

The prosecution's deliberation committee said it considered factors including the brutal nature of the murder -- particularly the victim being killed with the mother watching -- the amount and nature of the evidence, including Kim's confession, the victim's family wanting the information to be released and the anticipation that releasing Kim's information could help curb dating violence.

Kim appealed the decision by the prosecution to release his information, but the court ruled against him on Thursday.

"We must consider the extreme damage inflicted on the victims by the applicant (Lee), and the high degree of malice it brings upon society. It is socially necessary in order to ensure the people's right to know and prevent a recurrence of similar crimes, and thus is related to the public interest," the court decided.

Kim's information will be posted online until May 21, in accordance with the law that stipulates a suspect's information can be released online for up to 30 days.

South Korea recently adopted the law that allows authorities to reveal personal information of the suspects in serious crimes such as sexual violence against minors, certain drug crimes, arson, armed revolt and organized crime. The law provides legal grounds on specific details related to revealing the suspect's information, such as mandating that the suspect's photo needs to have been taken within 30 days prior to it being released to the public.