S. Korean man gets death for murdering compatriot in Ho Chi Minh City

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S. Korean man gets death for murdering compatriot in Ho Chi Minh City

This image shows Lee Hyeong Won at his trial at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on March 28, 2022. Photo: Dan Thuan / Tuoi Tre

A court in Vietnam has sentenced a South Korean man to death for killing a fellow citizen while committing a robbery in Ho Chi Minh City more than two years ago.

Lee Hyeong Won, 32, received the death penalty for murder, a 14-year jail term for robbery, and a two-year imprisonment sentence for theft at his trial conducted by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Monday.

The court also ordered Lee to pay VND700 million (US$30,760) to the victims’ family.

The foreigner had come to work in Vietnam on different occasions and when committing the murder in late 2019, he was working for a karaoke parlor in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

On December 20 that year, Lee went to District 7-based Phu My Hung Urban Residential Area, home to the biggest South Korean community in the city, to spread leaflets advertising the parlor, according to the indictment.

When he took a break at a park on the afternoon of that day, Lee thought of robbing a residence in the area, and he eventually chose a house which he believed would be convenient for him to break in.

The residence belonged to a South Korean couple, Y.S.Y., 50, and his wife J.Y.S., 49.

He then left the area and returned at 9:00 pm the same day, when he climbed into the house from the window on the first floor and sheltered himself there, wearing a raincoat to avoid being recognized via security cameras.

Around midnight when everybody in the house had gone to bed, he went into the kitchen on the fourth floor and got a pair of gloves and a knife.

When J. detected Lee on the third floor and cried out for help, he stabbed her in the neck and then gave her husband several stabs when the man rushed to the scene to save his wife.

The couple’s daughter, 16-year-old Y.J.J., was also stabbed as she tried to reach her parents from another room.

The intruder then demanded that the girl show him the family’s safe, but he failed to open it as she did not know the passcode to unlock the coffer.

The girl’s father begged Lee to spare his family, and the robber, after stealing VND8 million (US$351), five smartphones, and a car key from the victims, fled the house in the family’s car.

Lee later threw the knife and all the smartphones into the Saigon River before driving the car to a vacant land plot in the city, where he burned it.

The robber was arrested four days later while he was hiding in District 1.

J. died of her serious neck injury later while her husband and daughter suffered wounds with the body injury rates of 25 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

At the hearing, Lee suddenly declared that he had a mental illness and requested that the court order a psychiatric assessment on him before continuing the trial.

The judging panel, however, rejected the defendant’s request, considering it groundless.

As Lee had committed an extremely serious crime, in which he had attempted to kill many people, including a minor, he deserved the strictest punishment, the court concluded.

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