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March 27, 2008
Police arrested four college students from Yong In University in Gyeonggi yesterday on suspicion that a hazing beating resulted in a fellow student’s death.
The arrests came 22 days after a Yong In freshman, Kang Jang-ho, died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Investigators indicted the four without physical detention after concluding that they were responsible for Kang’s death, police said.
In the middle of a Valentine’s Day judo training session for newcomers in the school gymnasium, Kang, a martial arts major, suddenly fell into a coma, school authorities announced. Kang died March 4. He was 19.
In the statement the university released following Kang’s death, school authorities said only that the student suddenly felt dizzy after finishing a backward rolling break-fall move in the training session, then collapsed on the mat.
As questions arose over the circumstances of Kang’s death, the Yongin Police Precinct, disregarding the college’s statement, began to investigate the incident.
According to Kang’s classmates, soft mats covered the gymnasium’s floor to prevent injury. Police also added that as a black belt, Kang had been familiar with break-falls.
In their investigation, police said they found that four of Kang’s older classmates beat him more than 20 times with an aluminum sword before the training session. Despite the serious bruises and scratches on his hips and thighs, Kang was forced to participate in the judo match.
“Classmates compelled the already injured freshman to participate in the training program,” said an officer on the case who declined to be named. “He was not in able condition to practice judo.”
Upon receiving reports that other freshmen received routine beatings, the police planned to expand their investigation.