The police concluded the attack was “unintentional,” but netizens believe otherwise.
On March 3 (KST), a Korean woman on the Suin-Bundang Line of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway was arrested at the scene where she attacked three passengers with a knife.
According to the police and other witnesses, the woman—in red outerwear—began swinging the weapon inside the passenger car around 5:35 PM. Following report calls, the police were dispatched to the nearest station around 5:43 PM.
While the police were waiting for the train at the nearest station, passengers inside the car teamed up to stop the woman. Three passengers tried to approach her in an attempt to control her—and she ended up causing wounds on all three. A male passenger and a female passenger had their faces wounded, while another female passenger suffered a stab in her thigh. While no lives were lost, the female passenger’s thigh wound has been reported to be critical.
Since the woman’s arrest, the police revealed that the woman “had no intentions to kill.” According to the police investigation, the woman launched the attack when another female passenger called her an “ahjumma” (아줌마, a Korean term most often used for a married, or middle-aged woman) and asked her to “turn her cellphone volume down.”
Another passenger asked the woman to turn her cellphone volume down. The passenger referred to the woman as ‘ahjumma,‘ which upset the woman. The woman admitted that the term offended her because she believed she isn’t old enough to be classified as an ‘ahjumma.’ She also explained that she had no intentions to kill.
— Police Report
The police concluded that the woman will be charged for assault, rather than attempted murder, based on the investigation of the woman. The police also pointed out that the woman had psychiatric drugs in her bag, as well as records of having been treated for mental illnesses, including depression, and concluded that the attack was “unintentional.”
Following the news coverage, though, Koreans voiced their disbelief via online communities. Most criticized the police for “being too lenient” with “a criminal who had a weapon prepared” and concluding that the attack was not “planned murder.”
- “I can’t believe I live in a world where the victims have to risk their lives because criminals have mental illnesses.”
- “We can’t even use the ahjumma, ahjussi terms? What are we supposed to do, call them ‘mister’ and ‘ma’am’ now?”
- “I’m sorry, but a 37-year-old woman is an ahjumma regardless of marital status. It doesn’t have much to do with whether you’re married or not. It sounds like the woman had anger management issues, on top of an inferiority complex… AND it sounds like the police is going to let her off easy because she has such mental illnesses.”
- “At her age, though, isn’t she an ahjumma indeed? The other passenger called it like it is. What a stupid excuse…”
- “How is this unintentional at all when the woman literally had a weapon on her? How many people carry knives in their bags just because?”
- “But… the woman had a knife with her. Isn’t that intentional already? I mean, unless she works a job that requires her to carry a weapon around…”
- “You know. I, too, have depression. I’ve been taking meds for the past several years. And yes, sometimes I lose my cool, too. But I don’t carry a weapon around. I don’t go around swinging a knife at people. I don’t think I’d even have that kind of energy… I really hope the woman doesn’t use mental illnesses as an excuse.”
The Yongin Seobu Police Station has not responded to the growing backlash online in regards to the specific charges being pressed.