Don’t Ask Why: South Korea deals with two ‘Mudjima’ stabbings in quick succession

South Korea deals with two 'Mudjima' stabbings in quick succession

A crowded train car with a knife darting out. An attacker running towards shoppers and stabbing erratically in the street.

Following a mass stabbing attack last week, South Korea’s second in as many weeks, many people have been plagued by these dreams.

On July 21, a man attacked travelers at the city’s subway station, murdering one person and slashing three others. He later admitted to authorities that his life had been unhappy and that he “wanted to make others miserable too.”

Then, on August 3, a guy crashed his car into pedestrians near a subway stop in Seongnam, south-east of Seoul, injuring 14. He then fled inside a department shop, where he stabbed nine people. One woman later passed away from her wounds.

Dazed by back-to-back stabbings in a country famed for having low rates of violent crime, South Koreans online shouted, “What’s happening in South Korea these days?”

One person wrote on YouTube, “Our country used to be one of the safest in the world… but lately I can’t say that any more.”

The “Mudjima” crimes


They are referred to as “Don’t Ask Why” or “Mudjima crimes” in South Korea and are violent acts committed against strangers for no apparent reason or personal connection to the perpetrators.

Although they have been known as Mudjima by the general public for many years, South Korean police did not formally classify these crimes as a separate category until 2022, when they were given the name “Abnormal Motive Crimes.”

The action seemed to demonstrate that authorities were now taking the crimes seriously by providing detailed definitions and establishing a task team to combat them. 18 Mudjima acts were reported by the police in the first half of this year.

The recent stabbings have fueled the notion that Mudjima actions are more regular and society is more unsafe, despite the fact that aggregate statistics shows no increase in violent crime and South Korea actually had its lowest rates in a decade last year.

It has even prompted some pundits to draw similarities to the US, with statements like “OMG South Korea has become the USA of Asia” and “It’s the American mentality that’s going viral in South Korea.”

But experts continue to say that South Korea is still a fairly safe place. “Murder and other violent crime rates are very low compared to other countries, and they have been steadily declining in the last 10 years,” said Prof. Hyojong Song, a specialist in criminology at Korea University in Seoul.

With 1.3 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, South Korea’s homicide rate is half that of the OECD average and less than a fifth of that of the United States. There are also tight gun laws.

Many online claimed that the obvious analogies to the US hide the fact that local authorities must take action. “They need to look at South Korea’s own social issues that have led to this,” one person wrote.

Even while the information regarding the culprits is still vague, the little that has been published thus far has already increased popular rage.

In a line of comments that has grown popular online, one user said on Tiktok, “These days there are jobless losers who are taking their ills out on everyone else.”

Another claimed that “in the past, only psychopaths would do something like this, but now we live in a world where regular people are turning into murderers,” according to a YouTube comment. People lack optimism, and their levels of panic and happiness are both low.

In South Korean society, there are underlying social constraints that experts have identified, ranging from uncertain housing and career prospects to ongoing stigma surrounding mental health and a dearth of support resources. Choi, according to the police, did not receive proper care.

Fundamentally, according to Prof. Song, “I think we need some emotional and practical social support systems or policies that can help those who are disconnected from society and have no social bond.”

duplicate dangers

Following the stabbing last week, there was a surge of threats that appeared, threatening copycat acts, which increased public fear.

Online postings specified precise times and places, and some even included the gender of the targets they wished to murder. A person declared their intention to “kill as many people as possible.”

Despite the fact that many thought they were the work of children and attention seekers, they were successful in frightening people.

Social media users issued alerts for the weekend of August 4-6. One TikTok video with the message “Please avoid these areas in South Korea” had more than 300,000 views in Asia.

The host, a North American expat living in Seoul, adds in the video, “Go ahead and screenshot this- here’s a list of public stabbings on the weekend.” A number of subway stations, as well as nightclubs, an amusement park, and a stop for a women’s university, were mentioned as potential attack locations.

They advise, “Be careful, be aware of your surroundings, and stay safe out there.”

Police in reaction launched a “special enforcement” operation over the weekend, sending tens of thousands additional cops to public locations. They were instructed to stop and search “suspicious-looking” individuals; at least one person was detained after being observed in public with a knife.

Authorities also responded to the online threats, using internet service provider addresses and tip-offs to identify individuals around the nation.

Following the weekend operation, police detained approximately 60 people, including 34 youths, some of whom were underage and weren’t subject to charges. They had discovered about 200 threats.

One 17-year-old boy was apprehended after threatening to attack someone at a Wonju train station and tipping off the authorities.

In a different incident, a 14-year-old was detained outside the train stop he had designated as his intended target. He claimed to the police that he was “bored and posted it as a joke,” not that he intended to kill anyone.

Some of the immediate public angst is waning as more and more days go by without an event.

Fear, though, continues to linger on people’s minds. Mace sprays and other defensive weapons are being carried by more people. Additionally, more people are being watchful and cautious of others around them on subway platforms and in other crowded places.

Excited fans on a night train coming from a BTS member’s concert last Saturday almost caused a stampede when their shrieks of excitement were misinterpreted as cries of panic. Passengers who fled claimed later that they felt as though they had been in a zombie movie.

In its first week of operation, a web tool designed to map cyber dangers received more than 50,000 views, according to local media. Every day, new threats are still being recorded by the service.

On Wednesday, Korean media stated that within eight minutes of an internet threat going out, authorities had located its poster. The “acts of terror” have intensified political debate on criminal justice reform.

Last week, lawmakers pledged to pass laws to support draconian police tactics, reduce the age of criminal culpability, and impose heavier criminal penalties for mass stabbings. The nation’s justice minister stated on Monday that police use of force should be viewed as an act of self-defense.

Many people’s sentiments were expressed in an editorial published this week in the Korean Herald, which stated: “It is truly distressing to witness such brutal crimes perpetrated in a country known for a relatively good degree of public safety.

“It is imperative to conduct a thorough inquiry to determine the precise causes of the heinous killings. Police must take action to stop copycat crimes at the same time.

Seoul is incensed by the murder of a subway stalker.

In the capital of South Korea, Seoul, a plaque bearing the phrase “Women Friendly Seoul” can be found outside the women’s lavatory at a train stop.

The phrases, which were intended to reassure women of their safety, have taken on a fatal irony. A young woman who worked at the station was viciously murdered last week inside the lavatory. She had been stalked for years by the man who is thought to have killed her.

Since then, people of all ages have flocked to the wall beneath the inscription to vent their rage, fear, and sorrow, transforming it into a shrine of notes left as messages.

The one that says, “I want to be alive at the end of my workday,” is one. Is it unreasonable to want that I have the safety to reject those I don’t like? reads one more.

While looking over the texts, the mother of a teenage girl sobs. She wonders, now debating whether to let her daughter go to school by herself, “Where have we gone so wrong?”.

shocking homicide


The nation has been shocked by the details of this murder. The 28-year-old was doing her routine nightly shift at the metro station when she became aware that someone was keeping an eye on her.

Her alleged assailant, 31-year-old Jeon Joo-hwan, allegedly waited outside the restrooms for more than an hour while donning gloves and a plastic shower cap before following her inside and fatally stabbing her.

He was scheduled to receive a sentence for stalking her the following day.

In 2019, a year after the two began cooperating, the harassment began. Jeon begged his coworker to date him over 300 times and threatened to harm her if she refused.

He was dismissed from his employment and arrested in October of last year after she reported him. He was never put in jail or issued a restraining order, despite a police investigation and a court request for him to be held.

For a month, the victim was under police guard before officers decided there was nothing noteworthy to disclose. Jeon kept stalking and threatening after that.

Her parents and two younger sisters have rarely left the funeral home since their daughter passed away; there, her body is still lying, surrounded by bouquets from repentant politicians.

She never disclosed her struggles to the family, which has crushed them in addition to their loss. Her mother is so traumatized that she has trouble speaking. She’s made the decision to keep her daughter’s identity secret.

Her uncle informs me that they never bothered about her. She was quite intelligent and self-reliant. He remembers with satisfaction how she graduated at the top of her class and received a scholarship to study in Seoul.

She watched out for her sisters because she was the oldest of three girls. He claims that she had not displayed any signs of pain over the previous years and speculates that this was because she did not want to burden them.

She solely confided in her lawyer, with whom she last communicated the day before her stalker was sentenced and on the morning of her death. We’re getting close, she wrote.

Along with the rest of the nation, her family is currently observing the horrific details of her case as they develop. They have shown flaws in the stalking laws of South Korea and raised concerns that the nation does not take violence against women seriously enough.

laws against stalking

Stalking was previously considered a misdemeanor that was only sanctioned by a modest fee. In October, a law against stalking was ultimately passed, but many claimed that it was insufficient and would not protect victims, particularly because it provided that a victim’s consent was required before a stalker could be brought to justice.

According to them, this loophole enables stalkers to intimidate their victims into dropping their charges, just as Jeon tried to do with his victim. According to reports, Jeon told authorities he killed her because he was angry with her for filing a lawsuit.

Since the stalking law went into effect in South Korea last year, 7,152 stalking arrests have been made, but only 5% of the suspects have been held, according to data obtained by the BBC from the country’s National Police Agency. One in three court requests made by the police to have the suspect imprisoned were turned down.

President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea has instructed the Justice Ministry to improve the nation’s stalking laws after admitting they are insufficient.
Prof. Lee Soo-jung, a criminal psychologist who consults with the government, claims that after learning of the murder, she was unable to fall asleep. She acknowledges, “Yes, we failed her. We couldn’t protect her.

The professor is advising the ministry to delete the provision requiring victims’ consent before filing charges. In the meanwhile, the Supreme Court has suggested that restraining orders be issued to stalking suspects who are not in custody.

But despite these assurances, hostility is intensifying. Hundreds of protesters and mourners gathered in Seoul this week, all dressed in black.

Her employer, the police, and the courts had failed her, the protesters yelled, making her death a symptom of a much larger issue. They worry that no place is safe and that it may happen to any of them.

Safe areas

It brought back thoughts of a crime that happened six years ago, when a guy admitted to killing a lady in her 20s in a public lavatory close to Gangnam station as retaliation for all the women who made fun of him.

This murder is evidence that nothing has changed in the eyes of the demonstrators. Over the loudspeakers, the organizers yelled, “We’ve been deceived before; change is coming. “Let’s see how things turn out this time.”

Director of the organization Women Link Choi Jin-hyup declared, “We don’t need new laws. “What we need to do is change how the government views victims,” She holds the government accountable for its tangled position on women’s rights.

The president just ran for office and campaigned on a platform of abolishing the Gender Equality Ministry, claiming that systemic sexism no longer existed. The gender minister told reporters she did not think this was an example of gender-based violence after visiting the crime scene. She is currently being urged to step down.

Lee Chae-hui, a 23-year-old woman, bends her head and lays a white flower at the train stop.

I’m really upset, she says. “We continue to portray these acts as yet another senseless killing, while our leaders continue to ignore the ongoing stalking and assault of women. People often comment about how safe South Korea is, but as a woman in my 20s, I have a hard time understanding this because I feel like I live in a very dangerous culture.

To congratulate one another, Chae-hui’s pals have a saying they use: “We survived another day.”

How many more women must die for this country to change, the sentiment on scores of Post-it notes asks.

The ‘Joker attack’s’ revelations about Japanese culture(November 14, 2021)

Japan was horrified earlier this month by a train attack that left up to 17 people hurt. Although the alleged attacker, who was seen sporting what appeared to be a Joker costume, has received most of the publicity around the attack, does the incident reflect more about Japanese society as a whole?

Japan is a very secure nation.

I am aware that is somewhat cliche. But you don’t fully appreciate how unique Tokyo is from every other major metropolis on the planet unless you actually live here.

Here, there isn’t the kind of little crime that happens frequently in London or New York. You hardly ever consider violent crime, at least as a male.

Many warning bells went off recently when a brutal attack occurred on a crowded train.

Following the alleged “Joker” attack on Halloween night, many commuters are unsure whether it is safe for them to utilize the train networks, and officials are frantically trying to reassure Tokyo residents that everything possible is being done to keep them safe.

Additionally, it has led to a deluge of media speculating about the accused culprit and whether there are other people “out there” who are similar to him.

The location [a train] and the accused 24-year-old’s “Joker” costume have drawn a lot of attention.

If you’ve seen the movie, you might conclude that this crime was a copycat attempt to imitate a scenario from a New York City train car.

In fact, it has been claimed that the suspect admitted to his interrogators that he “worshipped the Joker character” and desired to “kill as many people as possible.”

Criminal psychologists contend that rather than imitating, the clothing and time were intended to bring attention to the outrage that the offender was doing.

Professor Yasuyuki Deguchi, a criminal psychologist at Tokyo Mirai University, states, “I think he wanted to stand out.”

He is an erroneous attention seeker. He reasoned that by dressing up like the Joker for Halloween, he will stand out more. He can attract more attention from the public by pretending to be the Joker and claiming to look up to him. I don’t believe he made the choice to imitate the Joker after watching the film.

Since the incident, I’ve spoken with a lot of criminal psychologists, and they all agree that this was not a psychopath’s crime.

In reality, perpetrators of large-scale attacks are rarely those who have a known mental illness. They followed a different pattern, though. Men who feel rejected by society predominately commit them.

According to Professor Takayuki Harada, a criminal psychologist at Tsukuba University, “Social isolation or a lack of social bonds is one of the biggest risk factors for criminal offending, like mass killing and other very serious crimes.”

Therefore, they lack family, friends, a career, and any kind of social ties. They are bitterly disappointed with and resentful toward society. According to him, they are likewise suicidal.

They prefer to place blame on others.

About the man who is believed to have committed the “Joker” attack, not much is known at this time.

However, the experts I spoke with compared it to another that occurred in Tokyo in 2008 when a young man rammed his truck into a line of customers in the well-known Akihabara electronics district before starting to stab bystanders.

The perpetrator of that 2008 incident was a member of a demanding privileged family. But he failed the university entrance exams, and he was forced to work in a low-paying position.

He had already made an attempt at suicide and had written notes on the internet explaining his plans to murder others before carrying out the attack.

Another criminologist who does not want his name used claims that the situation “is like terrorism, but it’s not terrorism.”

He claims that the attack in Akihabara was a mass murder. “It is the behavior of a regular person, a weak person, or a bullied person. They frequently develop stress.

Since they want to die, they reason, “I might as well take others with me if I’m going to murder myself. They particularly seek to place blame for their predicament on others.

Mass shootings in the US are comparable to these acts, although there are some significant differences.

First off, firearms restrictions in Japan are very severe. Second, showing aggression is strongly frowned upon in this society, which may be part of the reason why such crimes are so uncommon.

According to Professor Harada of Tsukuba University, “Aggression is sometimes directed inside—[which typically presents as] suicide.”

“Homicide or other hostile behaviors will result if you convert it to the outer world. It’s like a coin with two faces. Japan is well known for having a high suicide rate.

However, criminal behavior of any type, including aggressiveness, is extremely rare. As a result, aggression is likely to be internalized by Japanese people. Thus, one of the reasons why violent behavior is so uncommon in our nation.

It is believed that attacks like this one are happening more frequently in Japan. Since August, there have been three accidents on the trains in Tokyo.

According to psychologists, the epidemic may have made social isolation and economic hardship worse—both of which could have been triggers. The amount of media coverage the joker attack has received worries them as well………

…..In fact, we’ve already witnessed one copycat attack attempt, and the cops may have stopped others……

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