CHINA> Regional
Foreign kidnapper tried in Shanghai court
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-07-23 07:26

SHANGHAI: South Korean man Kim Soo Seok, 44, faced a trial Tuesday at the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People's Court for kidnapping, together with his two Chinese accessories Jin Mingyu and Chi Minhao who were charged with illegal detention.

This is the first kidnapping case involving a foreigner in Shanghai.

Kim was accused of plotting to kidnap another South Korean man and demanding a ransom of 300 million won ($295,000), the court was told Tuesday.

On December 24, under the order of the second defendant Jin Mingyu, Chi Minhao, a 29-year-old Korean minority from Jilin province, contacted Jean Moon Gyun, a 23-year-old South Korean studying at the Shanghai University of Sport.

Chi told Jean that a friend of his father's was visiting Shanghai and wanted to meet him, the prosecutor said.

Jean's father, Jean Sam Duck, is the president of a taekwondo association in Gyeongsangnam-do, a province in the southeast of South Korea, and owns several properties, Kim's attorney Yin Yongyu told China Daily. Jean Sam Duck also has a fast food business, Kim told the court.

Jean Moon Gyun arrived at a coffee house in the city's suburban Minhang district that evening and met Chi, and was later taken to an apartment nearby.

He was detained by force until being released by police on the afternoon of December 26.

"I have never attempted to insult him or hurt him physically," Chi told the court.

During the three days, Kim called Jean's parents back in South Korea and told them he had their son and wanted 300 million won.

The parents called the Shanghai police. And the gang was seized.

Kim pleaded guilty at the court Tuesday but explained he had wanted to claim a debt for a friend.

Kim said his friend Kim Sang Kyu owed him 15 million won.

"He borrowed the money 10 years ago," he said.

Kim said he was in a very bad financial condition since last year and needed the money.

"Kim Sang Kyu told me that he knew a friend who had loaned Jean Sam Duck 300 million won," he said.

"If I could claim it back, I could have half of it, and he told me Jean has a son studying in Shanghai."

Kim Soo Seok came to Shanghai in November and began to prepare the kidnapping around December 20.

He told Jin Mingyu, whom he worked with at Kim Sang Kyu's Shanghai company, and Chi Minhao that he would give them 200,000 yuan each if they could get back the 300 million won.

But Jean Sam Duck said Tuesday he had never owed anyone 300 million won. In stead, Kim, who get to know him by attending some taekwondo activities, had asked to borrow 15 million won from him in last June but was refused.

No verdict has been announced yet.