Wife of South Korean trader slain in 'tokhang for ransom' testifies in court


Posted at Jan 07 2020 08:11 PM

MANILA - The wife of slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo testified in court for the first time on Tuesday, emotional as she recalled how her husband had gone missing more than three years ago. 

The testimony of Choi Kyung-jin came three years since she first came out in media in January 2017 to appeal for her husband's release. She did not know he had been killed the same day he was taken from their Angeles City home on October 18, 2016. 

Police officers are on trial for his kidnap and slay, accused of murdering him inside the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame after taking him from his house in the guise of a drug raid. 

In a 3-hour hearing at the Angeles City Hall of Justice in Pampanga, Choi, who has been at the forefront of the quest for justice for her husband's death, said it was hurtful remembering what happened to her slain husband.

"I was anxious because it's been a long time. It was so difficult and very hard to remember all about the incident while I was doing the testimony," she said, her Korean testimony translated in court by an interpreter. 

The suspects in Jee's slay, including prime suspect Police Lt. Col. Rafael Dumlao III, were also present in the hearing. 

The abduction of Jee and his alleged killing inside Camp Crame sparked international outrage against the Philippine government's war on drugs after it was discovered that the victim was kidnapped under the guise of the PNP anti-drug operation Oplan Tokhang.

The killing also shocked the South Korean community, which has a strong presence in the Philippines. 

It triggered a Senate inquiry, led to the suspension of the drug war and a crackdown against rogue cops, and prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to apologize to South Korea for the murder. 

- With a report from John Mark Guda, ABS-CBN News