S. Korea police chief resigns amid outrage over murder

National Police Agency chief Cho Hyun-oh acknowledged "police incompetence and carelessness."

Story highlights

  • Cho Hyun-oh acknowledges police bungled an emergency call
  • The woman who called was later found murdered
  • Cho says police also attempted to cover up their mistake

South Korea's national police chief resigned Monday amid criticism over authorities' handling of an emergency call from a woman who was later found murdered.

Cho Hyun-oh, commissioner of the National Police Agency, issued an apology, acknowledging "police incompetence and carelessness."

A woman in her 20s called police the night of April 1, saying she was being raped, according to authorities in the city of Suwon, south of Seoul. She gave police details as to her whereabouts, using a nearby school and playground as landmarks.

Suwon police said the woman's seven-minute phone call to authorities was tracked, but the police operator who took the call did not tell police at the scene the woman reported being inside a house. As a result, police only checked outside areas and did not search homes in the area.

By the time authorities located the woman, she had been murdered. A man has been arrested in connection with her death. The woman's body was found at the home of the murder suspect, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Cho also said he regrets attempts at a police cover-up. Authorities initially claimed they dispatched more officers to the scene than they actually had, and said the victim's phone call lasted only seconds.

Six family members of the victim met Monday with Cho and other police officials to protest police handling of the case, Yonhap reported.

"I pray for the victim's soul, express my condolences to her family and ask for forgiveness," Cho told reporters in a press conference, Yonhap said. "I blame myself deeply and express my heartfelt apology for the carelessness of the police and the horrendous results it led to, as well as for causing disappointment to the people through the police's attempt to cover up (the case) and their lies."

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