Some really ugly stuff here (on youtube here), but one of the top stories on Naver.
Video news report available here. One of the guys who originally broke the story said the video news report mentions the police's unwillingness to do anything, but of course I'm not fluent so I don't know for sure.
* Update 1: The Korea Times has the story in English now. Excerpts:
The girl had her hair pulled out and received bruises to body. Her parents reported it to the nearby police branch office about 10 minutes after the incident.
Police officers collected testimonies from the parents and the neighbor and checked the CCTV recording in the elevator. Despite the apparent kidnap attempt, the officers reported to Ilsan Police Station the next day that it was ``just a simple assault case'' committed by a drunken man, based on testimony that he smelled of alcohol.
Police are being criticized for neglecting the case and thus losing the chance to catch the suspect at an early stage. It was also reported that the police asked her mother not to talk about the case to the media.
President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that the public is incensed over the police's lukewarm attitude.
``As seen on the CCTV recording, it was really brutal. The state's utmost duty is to protect people's lives, but the police still show such an attitude at this time when many cruel cases remain unsolved and people feel pity for them. The police need to change,'' Lee said.
* Update 2: Caught him:
The Korea Times has the story in English. An excerpt:
Lee said that he was drunk when he was walking behind her. The girl gave him a suspicious glance, and he tried to tell her that he was not a bad person. He got angry at her attitude and beat up her, according to his testimony. Police are investigating the reason for this action.
He was previously in jail for 10 years for habitually sexually assaulting minors and was released two years ago, police said.
Police caught him after confirming through CCTV recordings in subway stations on line 3 that he took a subway train at Daehwa Station near the apartment complex and got off at Suseo Station.
Despite the arrest, police are being faulted for failing to react swiftly to the failed kidnapping and losing the chance to catch Lee earlier.
Her parents reported the attack to a nearby police office about 10 minutes after the incident. Police officers collected testimony from the parents and the neighbor and checked the CCTV recording in the elevator. Despite the apparent kidnap attempt, the officers reported to Ilsan Police Station the next day that it was ``just a simple assault case'' committed by a drunken man, based on testimony that he smelled of alcohol.
Ah, employing the "I was drunk" defense. Smart move.
* Update 3: The story is in all the papers now, as is news that "Child Sex Offenders Will Face Harsher Penalties." The Chosun Ilbo has a bunch of other articles and editorials on the matter, including "Too Dumb and Too Lazy to Protect and Serve?" An excerpt:
On March 27, around 100 leaflets displaying the face of the criminal were posted in and around the apartment complex, printed by the parents after they heard nothing from the police. It wasn’t until March 29 that a detective from Ilsan Police Station came to investigate the scene of the crime, which had been assigned to him on March 27. The detective is said to have taken a day off on March 28. It was only after the news report on Sunday night that the chief of Ilsan Police Station appointed an investigative team to the case and made a huge ruckus in the process.
At 11 a.m. on March 26, the National Police Agency had announced a comprehensive set of measures to deal with child abductions and missing children. The NPA had made the announcement after mounting criticism over its ineptitude after it took 82 days to catch the criminal who murdered Lee Hye-jin (11) and Wu Ye-seul (9). The murderer was discovered to have been a neighbor. The agency vowed it would create a 1,056-strong special unit handling missing child cases and would swiftly mobilize the maximum number of forces once a report is filed. Less than six hours after that, it was shown up to have been a huge bag of hot air.
For all the ragging on Dave's and the other forums, this is another story that was broken on that site, well before mention was ever made in (English-language) newspapers and on blogs. Other examples include the abusive daycare center in Itaewon, child molestor in Vermont Hanse Park, and the story of Bill Kapoun. So it does pay to sift through the "Why do Koreans have black hair?" and "Where should I live: Gangnam or Wando?" threads every once in a while.
* Update 4: From a Joongang Ilbo story from a few days ago:
About 170 police officers were assigned to the case yesterday.
The incident happened Wednesday afternoon. The suspect punched and kicked the third-grade girl, who sustained numerous bruises. The man then fled when a neighbor arrived.
Staggering how many officers had free time. As was demonstrated in the case of the abusive daycare, and was reaffirmed here, when it comes to criminal matters, especially against children, it is much more effective to go to the media than to the police. Another excerpt:
The girl’s father reported the case 10 minutes later. The Daehwa branch of the Ilsan police department took the call, but only informed higher authorities the next day, classifying it as a misdemeanor, police said.
Although witnesses and the surveillance footage showed the man was holding a weapon, the initial police report left out that information, police said. The case was initially categorized as misbehavior toward a child by a drunken man.
Police also obtained a fingerprint believed to be that of the suspect from the elevator, but waited two days to send the evidence to the crime lab. They didn’t get a positive identification, so they told the girl’s parents there was nothing they could do.
After the angry parents and neighbors criticized the lack of effort by the police and posted posters with a photo of the suspect from the video footage, the police on Saturday took a look at the tape for the first time.
And posters on one of Korea's expat forums made some good points. One, if the neighbor hadn't gotten involved, and would have just looked the other way as is common in Korea, the kid would have been gone. Two, that the police, both here and in the case in Anyang, seem to have made the assumption that these men were merely disciplining these children, and in Korea it is considered approrpriate for older people to set kids straight. Third, that for all we hear about how Korea is a safe country---and in many respects it is a safe country, much much safer than the US in many respects---it is definitely not a safe country for children. Children are the frequent victims of car crashes: 4th highest among OECD nations, according to this KT article, and that's of course not taking into account pedestrians, who comprise roughly 40% of fatalaties in car accidents over here. And as you see when you're flipping through the channels or looking at your bills, there is no shortage of children's faces for the missing persons reports.
That so many parents escorted their children to school following the Anyang case and this one is evidence that people are outraged by the crimes and by police ineffectiveness. That's a good thing. However, I also recall people being outraged after a middle school girl was held captive and raped by 800 men, but I haven't heard any updates on that. We'll see how this one goes.
* Update 5 (April 6, 19:00): I put the video up on youtube to make it easier to share, and in case the news article links change.