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KEI Spotlight

Sindang Murder Underscores South Korea’s Weak Protections for Women

October 6, 2022

This article was published on The Diplomat on October 3, 2022.

On September 14, a female subway worker was murdered by her ex-coworker in Sindang Station. The 28-year-old victim had filed a restraining order against the murderer and was waiting on the sentencing announcement, scheduled a day later.

The incident sent shockwaves through Korean society, deepening existing fractures along gender lines. It also reignited criticisms of the South Korean government’s failure to properly address stalking crimes and violence against women.

The incident reminded many of a prior 2016 case, in which a  woman was killed in Gangnam Station by a stranger who felt “belittled” by women – a now infamous case that brought heinous “Don’t Ask” crimes to the forefront of South Korean public discourse. At the time, prosecutors were hesitant to label it a hate-based crime.

Last November, a woman was stabbed to death in her apartment by her ex-boyfriend, even after reporting him for stalking. In February of this year, a 40-year-old woman was stabbed by her boyfriend at a bar. Both women were under police protection and wore smartwatches to report emergencies.

Questions about the efficacy of anti-stalking laws were raised again when a man murdered a woman he met online, also killing her mother and sister. The prosecution’s request for the death penalty was denied since the offender acknowledged his crimes and had no serious prior record.

To read Mai’s full article on The Diplomat, click here.