An ethnic Chinese man arrested by North Korean police for raping and murdering a young woman on her way home is alleged to have been a serial rapist, Daily NK sources reported on Oct. 31. 

The man stands accused of luring a 23-year-old woman onto his motorcycle on the road from Onsong to Kangan in North Hamggyong Province, where he raped and killed her on a secluded farm road before abandoning her body in a nearby reservoir, Daily NK sources said. 

The victim had been on her way home from a kindergarten teacher training session in Onsong County, one of the sources said, adding that she had accepted an offer from the man for a ride home. She reportedly did not know the man. 

“While giving the woman a ride on his motorcycle, the man stopped at a shop to purchase beer and snacks, and asked the woman to have sex with him multiple times,” the source said, based on information obtained from a contact in the police station charged with investigating the crime. “When the woman rejected his advances, the man got angry. She tried to escape, but he raped and then murdered her.”

A day after the murder, the woman’s body was discovered half-submerged in the reservoir. Police were able to identify the perpetrator through evidence found on site and after questioning witnesses at the store the man had taken the woman, Daily NK sources said. 

“The police conducted a preliminary examination of the man for more than a month, where they discovered that he was a serial rapist,” one of the sources said. “Allegedly, his usual approach was to lure women by presenting himself as a Chinese citizen with a lot of money, and then to rape them.” 

In North Korea, preliminary examinations include the entire interrogation process prior to suspects being indicted. Human rights advocates charge that preliminary examinations generally involve the police forcibly extracting confessions from suspects.

Daily NK sources said that the man is a Chinese citizen but lives in North Korea. Ethnic Chinese (also called “hwagyo” or overseas Chinese) living in North Korea are able to travel freely between North Korea and China to engage in trade, tourism and investment ventures and are generally better off economically than North Koreans. 

The man’s case has caused a great deal of public outrage because of the gruesome nature of his crimes and allegations he is a serial rapist, Daily NK sources said. 

“Many North Koreans want the man to be executed,” one of the sources reported. “But his parents are wealthy, so they’ll likely try to reduce the severity of his punishment anyway they can.”

Daily NK reported in December 2018 that North Korean authorities in Onsong County executed a serial rapist by firing squad.

*Translated by Violet Kim

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