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SKorean Deaths Linked to Web Site

December 18, 2000

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ The deaths shocked many in one of the world’s fastest-growing Internet markets _ a contract murder and suicide pact allegedly arranged through a Web site.

On Monday, authorities arrested a 26-year-old man on suspicion of failing to prevent the suicides of two people whom he met through a suicide Web site.

The man, identified only by his surname Kim, was with the victims just before they drank poison Dec. 13 at a motel in Kangnung city on the east coast, police said.

On an earlier occasion, Kim and a woman asked a man they met online, named Yoon, to kill them, police said. The attempt failed.

But Yoon, 19, was arrested Friday for the Dec. 12 stabbing death of a 29-year-old man in Seoul. The man was despondent, and apparently paid Yoon $830 to kill him.

Yoon apparently met the victim through an Internet suicide site and expressed no remorse for the death, authorities said. The victim was reportedly depressed because his girlfriend died last year.

``I killed him like he asked,″ The Korea Herald quoted Yoon as telling police. ``I thought it was a way of helping him.″

There are dozens of suicide sites in Korea, and authorities said they would scrutinize them closely. Some offer advice and support to prevent suicide, but others seem to advocate it, even providing details on different methods. Many have closed down in recent days, local media reported.

``There are reports that members of such suicide sites are holding regular off-line meetings,″ said Kang Seung-jo, head of the cyber crime bureau at the Seoul Police Agency.

Of South Korea’s 47 million people, about one-third use the Internet.

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