Suspect arrested in murder of elderly man in South Hamgyong Province

An elderly man sits in the foreground as Pyongyangites line up behind him to buy DVDs at a Mokran Video Company stall in the capital. Image: Daily NK

A man in his 30s has been arrested by police for breaking into a house and killing the occupant, an elderly man in his 70s, sources in North Hamgyong Province report.

The suspect, a Mr. Ri, was arrested by police in Tanchon, South Hamgyong Province, for robbery and murder. A preliminary investigation is currently taking place.

“Just after New Year’s Day, a man in his 30s from Kwangchon-dong broke into a house and killed its occupant, an elderly man living by himself,” a source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK. “The man was arrested and is now being investigated by the police.”

Citing a police source, the source added said that the murder suspect had entered the house and threatened the elderly man with a sharp object while demanding valuables. The old man, however, protested and the younger man killed him.

The elderly man was earning enough money through his private business activities to make a living. The suspect knew this and reportedly committed the crime to obtain money to contribute to government construction projects, military support activities and “loyalty funds” that the authorities demand residents contribute to.

After the elderly man was not seen in the neighborhood for several days, other elderly neighbors went to check up on him, ultimately finding his body. The murder was reported to the police, according to the source.

“The police allege that the murder suspect previously visited the elderly man’s house before the incident occurred. Investigators received reports that the defendant was seen lurking around the property several times. After he was taken into custody, he confessed to his crimes,” he said.

A separate source in South Hamgyong Province familiar with the incident added that “the police found a hidden bag with US dollars in it while they were examining the crime scene. It’s not clear how much money was there, but it was reportedly enough for the elderly man to comfortably live out the rest of his life.”

Both sources noted that the number of elderly people in North Korea living by themselves is on the rise, and they are increasingly becoming the targets of crime.

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