Korean sentenced to death for murdering compatriot and cutting up body

By Hai Duyen   May 19, 2023 | 02:16 am PT
Korean sentenced to death for murdering compatriot and cutting up body
Jeong In Cheol stands trial in HCMC for murder, May 19, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen
HCMC People's Court sentenced a South Korean businessman to death on Friday for murdering a countryman over an unpaid debt before cutting his body into pieces.

Jeong In Cheol, 38, and his family moved to Vietnam in 2010, and later established a company in HCMC with his wife in 2018.

In March 2019, he met the eventual victim, Han Young Duk, 33, at a restaurant in Phu My Hung, a luxury residential area in District 7 and home to a large Korean community.

They got close over time and decided to each invest VND1.8 billion (US$76,700) in a project managed by a friend of Cheol at an industrial complex in southern An Giang Province, but the investment proved unsuccessful, the court heard.

On November 14, 2019, Duk went to Cheol to borrow VND2.7 billion for "two days" for another business venture. Cheol agreed to lend money at an interest rate of 30%.

However, Duk did not return the money, citing the VND1.8 billion investment that he had put in the joint investment earlier.

Duk later brought a bottle of pesticide to Cheol's company saying that Cheol should kill the industrial complex manager to seize his assets so they could both get their initial investment back.

Cheol refused and the pair argued, at which point he started to think about using violence to take back the money he had lent Duk.

Later, Cheol prepared a saw, pincers, a pair of scissors, plastic bags and gloves, as well as a glass with 10 ground-up sleeping pills, which he hid at his company office.

Some days later on November 26, after his employees had left, Cheol drove Duk to his office to talk about the VND2.7 billion debt over some beer.

He asked for the money again, so Duk offered to repay him with two pearl bracelets worth nearly US$100,000. But Cheol said no as they did not have the registered documents to be legally sold.

That evening he poured poison and beer into the glass with sleeping powder and gave it to Duk. Once the victim was unconscious, he suffocated him by forcing plastic gloves into his mouth to ensure he was dead.

He then cut up the body into pieces, wrapped them in plastic bags and hid them on the top floor of the building.

The next day, his employees suspected the murder and told police, with Cheol confessing his crime.

Cheol told the court that he committed the murder when under a lot of financial pressure. He said he had borrowed money from friends and relatives to lend to Duk, and his business was also losing money, so he was under a lot of stress.

He apologized for his "very bad actions" and asked for a lesser sentence, but the court said the crime was especially dangerous and the death penalty was upheld.

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