Police probing 46 people in connection with murder threats posted online

Bomi Yoon

Police said Sunday they have tracked down 46 people in connection with online murder threat posts across the country amid concerns of copycat crimes following a recent stabbing rampage at a department store south of Seoul.

Police said they are reviewing the circumstances and criminal charges against those identified to have posted such threats. According to authorities, a number of them were minors.

The nationwide probe was launched after a man drove a car onto a sidewalk and attacked people with a knife at a department store in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Thursday, leaving one person dead and 13 people wounded.

Since the incident, at least 42 threats warning of similar crimes had appeared on internet communities and social media sites as of 7 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Police Agency.

According to officials, Seoul’s Hyehwa Police Station has placed a 31-year-old individual under emergency arrest for allegedly threatening to engage in violent disturbance at Hyehwa Station in Seoul.

Similarly, the Gangwon Provincial Police Agency was probing a 17-year-old for allegedly sharing a threat on social media warning of a stabbing rampage at Wonju Station.On Sunday, police in North Gyeongsang Province referred a 33-year-old man to the prosecution on attempted murder charges for posting an online murder threat last month.

The man is accused of threatening to kill a woman and uploading photos of weapons in an online chatroom around 8 p.m. on July 24. He was apprehended an hour and a half later as police seized his weapons.

Later in the day, the Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant for a 20-something man on charges of attempted murder, after police had nabbed him roaming around a bus terminal in the capital city wielding a knife on Friday. The court deemed the man, identified only by his surname Heo, a flight risk.

Before attending his warrant application hearing Sunday, Heo told reporters that he wanted to stab himself to death at the terminal. Heo is also accused of writing on his social media page that he would kill a police officer prior to visiting the terminal, and did not respond to a question on why he’d posted the threat.

The presidential office said Sunday police have dispatched officers, commandos and detectives to 89 areas targeted by rampage threats.

Presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon added that police have stopped and searched 442 suspicious individuals, and apprehended 14 of them on various charges.

According to Lee, police have identified 3,444 multiuse facilities considered vulnerable to these crimes, and sent 22,098 personnel to those places, including local volunteers. (Yonhap)

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