National Weird

Runaway soldier arrested for murdering his mother

Photo: YTN
James Hyams
Written by James Hyams

A 21-year-old soldier, who went absent without official leave (AWOL), was arrested on Wednesday for killing his mother, local media reported.

The suspect, identified by his surname Kang, was a private first class known to have been addicted to online computer games.

Kang allegedly murdered his mother in Seoul and burned her body. He returned home and enjoyed comic books and fantasy novels online while eating the snacks.

“[Kang allegedly] hit his mother on the head more than 10 times with a hammer. Then he went out to withdraw some money and buy snacks before returning home, and enjoyed comic books and fantasy novels online while eating the snacks,” an investigator was quoted as saying by Yonhap News.

“He then entered her mother’s room again and set afire the blanket covering her body. He even used an aerosol spray to build a tongue of flame.”
Kang took residence elsewhere in Seoul before police caught him on Wednesday. Military police arrested him later that day.

Kang was AWOL after failing to return to military duties at Gangwon after his leave expired.

“He admitted to what he had done to his mother, but remained silent on what prompted him to do such a horrible thing,” the investigator said.

The personality tests Kang completed, to gauge national service suitability, found he showed signs of depression and other mental health issues.

This result qualified him as a Class-A soldier meaning that he was banned from the frontline but still had to complete two years of compulsory military service.

“As he was not very good at his duties in his artillery unit, he was specially mentored by his senior colleague. No specific signs were detected that he had been having a hard time adapting to military life,” the investigator said.

The investigator told Yonhap news that Kang’s mother informed the military upon enlistment that Kang had been bullied during his school years.

“Since the age of 17, when he dropped out of high school, he had been addicted to playing computer games,” the investigator said. “One day before the alleged crime, he played the role-playing game, League of Legends, all night.”

This is one of several cases where South Korean soldiers have engaged in horrifying criminal acts.

In June last year, an Army sergeant went on a deadly shooting rampage at a frontline border outpost after being ignored and bullied by his superiors and comrades.

Ten months ago, Yoon private first class in the Army died after months of relentless bullying and physical abuse at his barracks in Gyeonggi Province.

Late 2013, a sergeant first class of a Special Forces unit forced his junior sergeants to bite the coil of a hand-cranked phone coil and made them undergo electric shock for being slow learners.

About the author

James Hyams

James Hyams

James Hyams juggles several careers including being a journalist and a social worker. James has an avid interest in 'telling it as it is', exposing matters of public interest, and reviving investigative journalism in the new digital era. Testimony to this is his thesis titled: “U.S. Government secrecy and the withering watchdog: Is WikiLeaks the answer?”

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