South Korean missionary bludgeoned to death in Philippines

By , on May 21, 2016


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MANILA, Philippines—A Christian missionary from South Korea was bludgeoned to death with a spade and a cooking gas tank Friday by a robber who broke into his home southeast of the Philippine capital, police said.

Sim Jae-jok, 57, woke up at dawn, apparently to jog and prepare for morning prayers, but saw the robber in his kitchen at his home in Taytay town in Rizal province, police investigator Hector Cardinales said.

The two scuffled and a neighbour saw through a window the robber repeatedly hitting the Korean in the head with a cooking gas tank, he said.

“She could hear the loud thuds as the robber hit the victim,” Cardinales said.

The wooden handle of the blood-stained spade was found broken after the attack, he said.

The victim’s Korean wife locked herself in a bedroom and the robber tried but failed to get in, muttering “Here I come, here I come” to threaten her, Cardinales said by telephone. He said the wife was still too shocked to talk.

The robber was apparently able to take a laptop computer and a cellphone from the two-story brick house, Cardinales said. Thieves apparently have broken into the house in the past but the couple did not report the break-ins, he said.

Investigators plan to check whether two security cameras at a neighbouring house captured images of the robber, who wore a bonnet and gloves, Cardinales said.

The Korean couple has been living in the Philippines for about 13 years and belonged to a Christian group that helps poor communities. Gift packs intended for indigent families were stored in the house, which had a prayer area on the second floor, police said.

In Seoul, an official from South Korea’s National Police Agency said three of its officers will travel to the Philippines to help investigate the killing of the missionary, the third South Korean to be killed in the Philippines this year.

South Korea has raised concerns over an increasing number of killings and crimes involving its citizens in the Philippines. Police officials of the two countries reached an agreement in November to co-operate in the investigation of such cases.

Last year, 11 South Koreans were murdered in Philippines, according to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry. A 74-year-old South Korean man was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants from his house in southern Zamboanga Sibugay province and held for several months in the jungles of Sulu province, where he died of an unspecified illness while in captivity.

The militants demanded a 500 million pesos ($10.6 million) ransom but later agreed to drastically reduce the amount as the Korean fell ill, but he died without them receiving any money, Philippine officials said.

The kidnapping prompted South Korea to issue a travel advisory warning citizens to stay away from the southern Mindanao region because of the threat of abductions and other crimes.