Seoul subway murder sparks fury over South Korea’s stalking laws

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Outside the women’s restroom at a subway station in the South Korean capital is a plaque that reads: “Women Friendly Seoul.”

The words, meant to assure women of their safety, have become tragically ironic. Last week, inside the restroom, a young woman who worked at the station was brutally murdered. The man suspected of killing her had been stalking her for years.

The wall underneath the plaque has since become a shrine of messages left as notes, with women and men of all ages coming to express their fury, fear, and sorrow.

“I want to be alive at the end of my workday,” reads one. “Is it too much to ask, to be safe to reject people I don’t like?” reads another.

The mother of a teenage girl cries as she scans the messages. “Where have we gone so wrong?” she asks, now questioning whether to allow her daughter to travel to school alone.

The details of this murder have shocked the country. The 28-year-old had been working her usual evening shift at the subway station, unaware she was being watched.

Her alleged attacker, 31-year-old Jeon Joo-hwan, waited for over an hour outside the toilets, wearing gloves and a disposable shower cap, before following her inside and stabbing her to death.

It was the day before he was due to be sentenced for stalking her.

Agencies

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