Korean Teenager Kills Abusive Mother, Says ‘I Miss Her’

Ji, suspected of killing his mother, covers himself with his jacket as he is lead out of the courtroom.

An 18-year old high school student in Seoul, identified only as ‘Ji’, was arrested in November 2011 for killing his mother, Park, and hiding her body for over 8 months in the family home. Ji told the police he killed her because of her ‘incessant physical and mental abuse’ towards him due to her obsession with him getting into Seoul National University, widely considered the most prestigious university in Korea.

If he did not do well on his exams, she would deny him food or force him to stay up all night studying. The night before the crime, Ji testified that his mother beat him for ten hours with a golf club and a baseball bat, made him do push-ups, and went to sleep in the morning when she finally grew tired. She was murdered in her sleep by Ji shortly afterwards.

Ji’s father had left the family five years earlier, but suddenly showed up one day to visit his son. The father became suspicious when Ji would not let him enter one of the rooms, and called the police, who came to the house. Once police arrived at the scene, Ji confessed, and later told them he suffered from nightmares involving his mother.

Ji is currently on trial.

From Naver:

Son Who Killed Mother Says ‘I Miss Mum’ For The First Time

‘I’m sorry for what I did to my mother. I miss her, and I don’t know what I was thinking…when I think about that nightmarish day it’s all a blur now. I have many good memories of her. I will become a son that she would not be embarrassed about, so she can smile at me from heaven.’

Ji (age 19, the suspect), wearing black-rimmed glasses, spoke these words on August 21st in Seoul High Court #505, while uncontrollably weeping. Ji had fatally stabbed his mother last March, who had forced him to do all-nighters. He had kept the mother’s body in their home for 8 months until he was caught by the police.

Today he said for the first time [since the murder] ‘I miss my mother.’ The hearing (presided over by Chief Justice Cho Kyung-ran), which was open to the family, was attended by the boy’s father and paternal aunt, who were seen crying.

Ji was initially sentenced to a prison term of 3 years by the Seoul Eastern District Court in his first trial (which was open to the public) last March, which was later amended to 3 years and 6 months. He testified that his mother had regularly forced him to study all night without eating or sleeping and would beat him with a golf club. The judge and jury took these revelations into account and concluded that he was in a physically and mentally weak state at the time of the incident. Ji could have faced more than 7 years in jail for matricide with a deadly weapon.

Both Ji’s defence and the prosecution appealed for an open trial over the point of contention that [Ji’s mother] ‘hit him over 200 times that night with a 7-iron golf club’, which Ji gave in a sworn statement. The prosecution stated, ‘If she had hit him over 200 times, it would have killed him,’ saying that they did not believe Ji’s story. Ji’s defense responded with, ‘We will directly show you in court [that it is possible to survive].’ Ji’s friend also claimed that he/she saw the marks that were left by the golf club, saying that he/she thinks the bruises need to be seen on television.

Ji’s legal counsel, led by lawyer Lee Myung-sook, has proposed that surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and other experts in physiology testify in the case. A specialist at Seoul National University Hospital gave the opinion that, ‘Injuries sustained to both of his buttocks were caused by a strong external shock and had discolored the skin. There is a coin-shaped scar on his left buttock.’ A year and five months has passed since the incident occurred but Ji’s legal team says that the scars are proof of the abuse he suffered.

The prosecution countered with, ‘Ji’s mother was no different than any other mother who is stern with her child – and the fact that he stabbed her to death in her sleep shows his depravity and lack of empathy,’ recommending a 15-year sentence for him. Ji’s lawyer, Lee, replied, ‘He was constantly being hit with a golf club, and his neighbours and teachers seemed not to care. Those who condone domestic violence in our society are accomplices. Victims of domestic violence are often cautious to turn against their wrongdoers. You are effectively saying to Ji, ‘I’m not going to consider a correlation between the abuse and your mother’s death, but I want to destroy your life anyway.’ Ask yourselves if this is the right judgment to base your decision on sending this man to prison for the rest of his life.’

Comments from Naver:

cnay****:

He’s still just a kid…I can’t even imagine how much agony he feels and has to live with every day. You shouldn’t be murdering people, of course, but I think his mother, too, was a bad parent. She didn’t raise him well and is responsible for him turning out the way he did.

2795****:

A normal parent does not hit their child 200 times, and a normal child does not kill his parents. If you exhibit unusual behavior to your child, he will act unusually himself.

kk90****:

I used to get beaten as a child as well; sometimes I would get hit over a hundred times so I believe this could happen. Now that I’m in my 20s they can’t hit me anymore but getting hit over 200 times [and surviving] can happen. My father would beat me when he came home or when he drank; there were a few times I wished I could kill him but never actually went through with it.

dnwn****:

It makes me so angry when I hear of parents like this who take it too far…our country has gradually become more and more obsessed with education…and when you see all the stories about [student] suicides that come out, it’s heartbreaking. Parents should focus on making their children happy…they should have known as parents that that is the wrong kind of home environment to raise a child in.

ambe****:

When I too was young, I was mistreated by my real father, and my stepfather and older brother sexually abused me. So I abhor domestic violence and cannot tolerate physical punishment. While this abused teenager needs to be sentenced, his neighbors should have reported it. We take our kids for granted. [When kids] are hit by adults, they don’t report it to the police – the law against [beating children] must be upheld. Murder and sexual assault are on the same level – they both need to be punished harshly.

rude****:

Our society is so idiotic, justifying domestic abuse of children.

armi****:

It was the mother’s cruel and unusual ‘training methods’ that led her son to kill her. Still, I do not think it was justified for the son to kill his mother, who carried him for ten months in her stomach and raised him.

goar****:

He did something bad but his parents are also at fault…I believe he regrets what he did…this is really sad.

kabi****:

This makes me so sad. Why is the world like this?

marl****:

Oh oh oh…there are lots of homosexuals in prison. You better watch yo’ ass!

moonlite42:

He got so mad (he let himself get hit by the golf club instead of snatching it away) he killed his mother? And he’s a student? I couldn’t even imagine doing such a thing. There is something wrong with him [in the head]. This has to be one of the most vulgar things I have ever heard of. Normal people do not kill each other; there is something wrong with him. Life in solitary confinement sounds about right, a life for a life. He had planned to murder his mother. This is not a movie or a video game…

gubum999:

That’s no reason to kill your mother. The law must be upheld! He must be severely punished so more incidents like this do not happen!

spee****:

He’s clearly a psychopath as demonstrated by this incident. And nobody noticed what had happened for 8 months? Even when there’s a murder the probability of society not being able to adapt to the death penalty is still high.

hine****:

Death by dismemberment should be re-introduced.

zkff****:

Murderers in Korea only spend a short amount of time in prison, so when they get out, I think it doesn’t stop them at all and the number of murders increase.

hann****:

If he hated it so much why didn’t he just run away from home…I really think there’s something wrong with him in the head.

bonu****:

If you hit a child in America you get reported to the police…

ican****:

What a fucking psycho. If this had happened in America he would be in prison for 400 years. Crazy bastards like him need to be isolated from others.

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  • leo

    SOFA!

  • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

    Parents can encourage children to study because in a sense, the easiest way to a comfortable life is to get college diploma and get into companies giving a decent salary.

    But parents should not use their children to satisfy their desire of showing off to acquaintances with children’s academic performance or relish vicarious satisfaction in pushing too hard on their children beyond limits in anticiption of the day when their children will achieve what they failed to accomplish.

    When putting greed befor affection for children, an catastrophic consequence may be inevitable.

  • Brett Sanbon

    In China, they call this type of mother a “tiger mom”. Although, I don’t think Chinese Tiger Moms are known for physically abusing their children. They are usually just batshit crazy about studying and perfecting violin or piano skills.

  • glenn

    I know that Koreans are obsessed with education, or should I say the fame and prestige of getting into one of the SKY Universities. HOwever, I never knew tha it can go as far as physically beating the child with a golf club.

    People should also take into consideration that if the mom was not the one killed, the child is also a potential candidate for suicide. Who’s to blame? Korean educational culture.

    Education is important but not everything.

  • CAW!

    3 years? Is he being treated for being mentally unstable? Was there any proof that she abused him or are they just taking his word for it?

    • Brett Sanbon

      Thats true, too. Who knows if that scar is from his mom or from playing soccer and sliding on the ground? Who knows if she really used baseball bats and golf clubs to beat him? Did he really count how many times she hit him? At 18, shouldn’t he have been able to fend off the attacks?

      I don’t want to challenge the integrity of the boy’s testimony, but other people should have been able to figure out she beat him if it happened.

      One thing that gets me is how did no one figure out that this woman went missing after 8 months of 1) Not answering the phone, 2) not showing up to work/clubs/church 3) neighbors never see her, etc.?

      Maybe she was crazy and just stayed inside the house every day, beating her son. This story doesn’t make sense to me.

      • 미대협

        I’m pretty sure there’s a huge part of Korean culture devoted to elder respect, to the point that you don’t retaliate against an older student who is bullying you even. So, you wouldn’t retaliate against your mother, father, whomever if they’re older than you.

        • Brett Sanbon

          Its called “Confucianism”.

          You are mostly right about respecting elders, but I don’t remember ever reading “you should accept a beating with a blunt object”, just because the person is older.

          • Cuddycream

            I’m surprised at your take on this – I’ve seen some pretty shocking behaviour by older people towards younger people (I refuse to use the words “senior” and “junior” in this context) which the younger people just take. I can easily imagine Koreans of any age meekly submitting to a good kicking from their parents.

          • SK

            Actually, Asians are extremely unaware of what would be considered “child abuse” in the US or the rest of the west. I forget where exactly I read it (I think it might have been the economist) but a simple survey of mainland Chinese showed that a good chunk of them (something like a third, if I remember correctly) suffered severe abuse as children, which they themselves did not realize. The only thing that I could find was another survey of HK residents, which reports a higher number (almost 1/2, article here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9631250). Doubtless the rates would be similar in the rest of the Sinosphere, including Korea.

      • Yu Bumsuk

        Yeah plus we’re dealing with at least one and probably two people with very serious mental health problems. It would be very silly to generalise and extrapolate about anything based on this case.

      • k

        If she was beating him, even if he had obvious signs on his body, I seriously doubt anyone at his school or his friends, etc,. would say anything. I saw physical abuse in my elementary students at the hagwon I taught at and was told to keep my mouth shut about it, that it wasn’t their business or mine, and it’s a private family matter. That’s how Koreans deal with abuse, they keep quiet because they are taught to. My husband suffered horrible abuse in the Korean military, he was forced to play soccer and if he let the other team score, his officers would beat the shit out of him. He even contemplated suicide at one point due to how horrible the abuse in the military is. Koreans are very emotionally/physically abusive to each other and bullying is a huge problem as well. BUt good point how no one asked about his mum for almost the entire year….maybe she was just reclusive, embarassed her husband ran out on her and her son…I dunno but there are some unanswered questions here.

  • BoretoDeath

    If his story was true, then she deserved it.

  • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

    What is intriguing but has not ben touched is that when the fabric of the family was unraveling, what has his father been doing? Ususally, Korean fathers are too neglecting toward their children, leaving all matters on children with the hands of wives while citing high pressure of work.

  • lonetrey

    Poor kid. Sounds like a case of “battered person syndrome”… I feel sorry that his life has to bear the consequences of shitty parenting now.

    Yes, murder is wrong. But I still feel bad for him.

  • Cleo

    I really don’t give a fig. Probably because Brett Riedel already killed his Tiger Mom and when I watched the documentary by his sister, I was distracted by how interested in her children’s success she was. That’s not the case in my family. We got sabotaged like keeping me up all night cleaning the spare room that no one ever goes into the nights before the PSATs and SATs and constant tardiness and emotional outbursts on school mornings so the kid is wiped out by the time the school threshold is crossed, the physical and verbal abuse goes on and neither child has ever taken a weapon to our mother. Whatever happened to that Chinese American girl Esme who killed her mother? She got to socialize and have her own interests considered paramount importance. Is it possible that all these Tiger Mom murders have to do with raising an egocentric child who take after their mother. The killer instinct is either there or it isn’t.

    • lonetrey

      I must admit, I and very confused and intrigued by this post. Explain?

    • Patrick

      The killer instinct may not have come out, but you can definitely see the mental conflict in many of your postings.

  • somesojuslammer

    For those questioning the boy, child abuse will show on a physical exam/x-rays for sure. Do you think the kid is smart enough to make an elaborate story but at the same time stupid enough to just hide her rotting body for nine months? How didn’t anyone notice the smell is what I want to know….

  • A Japanaese Guy

    This is a sick news….

    • Cleo

      Yes, because why do the Koreans and Chinese have Tiger Moms who only hurt themselves and their own family members but luckily, the Japanese are sooooo clever and have Texas Cheerleader Moms who kill outside of their own group especially children who are superior to their own.

      What fun Shanghai will experience AGAIN when the expat FAMILIES from Japan decide that they have NO choice but to once again burn the prettier and cleverer native children with acid, rape them, kidnap them and send them to “Comfort Stations” and don’t forget, Taro Aso’s mines are always a good place to take kidnapped raped Shanghainese boys and girls to spend their last days making money for Akihito’s in-laws while Akihito’s own grandson is totally safe from even a threat of danger. The only “threat” to Hisahito is radiation-induced illness and for that there is no cure. But any report that Hisahito is threatened has to be part of some conspiracy – probably to get President Lee Myung bak into trouble so Akihito can have an excuse to put some “Rightists” aka yakuza thugs on a plane to Seoul. A quick in and out for the TEMERITY of naming Voldemort.

      Get out of Korea, you’re not wanted not even in the comments of Korean-related posts.

      • Cleo

        http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120904p2a00m0na003000c.html

        This is bullshi+. It’s meant to frame Akihito’s family as separate from the Powers That Be and that post-war Hisahito-era excuse that “The Butler Did It” that the position of “Emperor” (omg, how embarassing to overhype yourself in the vicinity of the Mainland) is a powerless one, a BULLIED one.

        Just watch “the elaborations of a bad liar” that will be coming out to backpedal Akihito and his future successors (where’s that Passover I prayed for?) because it’s not comprehensible how important and incredibly ballsy and Strong an act was committed by President Lee Myung-Bak NAMING Akihito.

        The situation is really bad and the Americans know it and Hilary Clinton did NOT change her position from when she put herself behind the Comfort Women with her comments about how the islet disputes should be handled by the parties involved.

      • Jennster

        lol.

      • takasar1

        calm down genius, i am not exactly a japanophile but the guy above you wasnt exactly saying something outrageously stupid/bigoted or making comparisons. its almost like you’re begging for a trolling contest

  • chucky3176

    Getting beat 200 times with a golf club by his mother? I don’t believe a thing he says. I can see the drunken father doing something like this, but a homemaker mother who wants her son to get into SNU? I don’t believe it. It’s obvious this guy is making up the story to get a lighter sentence and to excuse himself for what he did. She could have been nagging him to get off the computer games, stop playing hooky, and do something with his life. Or she could have nagged him to get better scores on school tests. Whatever the true reasons, one day he got fed up with her, blew up, and stuffed her out of rage.

    • Cleo

      he could have just gotten on a bus and become a waiter at a truck stop if he didn’t want to suffer at her hands anymore – that doesn’t mean he lied about the abuse but the courts should be a logical place – it’s not like goblins home invaded and he was fighting for his life that was in IMMEDIATE and imminent danger.

      You can just walk away instead of sending yourself to Oz and a sharing a cell with Adebisi. That’s not Seoul National University caliber intellect, I reckon.

      :P

    • Sojubang

      200 times does seem quite difficult to do, it would take a few hours of beating continuously for starters, which obviously would interrupt his studies somewhat defeating the purpose of the beating. Besides that the amount of damage done even from that amount of probably cause some sort of broken bones or internal organ damage, which wouldn’t simply just heal up fine within 8 months, without needing medical attention (presumably from a hospital). The evidence of which could be used in his trial. Something else we can ask is would his mother actually have been able to swing a golf club that many times at full force.

      Other things that stand out as being ridiculous about this statement: How did he figure out it was a 7 iron and that he was hit exactly 200 times? was this golf club found on the scene? I’d assume it would be in someway damaged or bent no matter which side he was hit with (handle side or head side)

  • Cuddycream

    Some Korean mums suck their sons off regularly so they won’t get distracted by girls and can concentrate on studying. Sisters get roped into helping out too sometimes.

    • lonetrey

      ^Troll that is trying way too hard.

  • mr. mike

    Hiding the body for nearly a year jacks up the creep factor to 11….However, the mother sounded like a nut.

  • Unkwn

    Anyone who says that the boy was lying about getting hit with a golf club is clearly an idiot. Even the medical experts confirmed that he was hit that way. Some parents do make sure the children count the amount of strikes they receive when they receive beatings, so it is possible that he knows exactly how many times he was struck. Check out “China Wolf Father Xiao Baiyou”.

    Anyone who says that this boy did poorly or averagely in school, played video games, and played hooky is also an idiot. The boy was already getting excellent grades in school, and his mother wanted him to be accepted into Seoul National University. A child that gets excellent grades in school, along with a parent that pushes the child to get into the top university in Korea would not even be allowed any video games, much less having the time to play it. Such children would not even be allowed to be unproductive.

  • k

    Where was the father in all this? What kind of father just leaves his family for nearly a year alone? Sounds like a very bad family situation for the kid…..He deserves punishment, but I’m not too sure it should be to the full extent of the law….if what he says is true, then the mother pushed into it and it sounds like he just snapped…he shows remorse, which is a sign that isn’t a total psychopath. Sad case ether way….

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  • Velda Smith

    @ Ambe****

    No, this kid does not deserve to be punished harshly–at all. His mother brutally abused him for no good reason whatsoever, she rationally chose to hurt him and she got her due. And you should’ve killed your father, brother and stepfather who abused you. When we choose to hurt people, there are consequences for it. Our parents may be our flesh and blood and murder is legally wrong, but have you heard of karmic justice? Abusive parents aren’t victims and just like the kids who kill their wicked parents know that it’s legally wrong to murder, abusive parents know full well that it is wrong to mistreat and viciously beat on their children worse than an animal. Abusive parents, regardless of their status as ‘human beings’ as well as being parents don’t just get a pass because of that, and like any other stranger or assailant, need to be held accountable for their actions.

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