Hands bound, gagged: Korean businessman-writer found dead in Antipolo

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2019 04:53 PM | Updated as of Jun 21 2019 07:54 PM

MANILA — The body of a South Korean believed to be a victim of summary execution was found in Antipolo City, police said Friday. 

Antipolo City police chief Lt. Col. Villaflor Bannawagan identified the victim as Joo Yeong-wook, 57, a frequent Philippine visitor. 

Seoul’s English-language newspaper The Korea Times said the victim is a well-known travel agency owner and travel and culture columnist.

Bannawagan said Joo’s body was found in a dark and isolated area along Taktak Road, part of Barangay Dela Paz. His head had a gunshot wound, his hands were tied behind him with duct tape, and his mouth was gagged. 

Police have yet to establish the motive behind the crime. 

“Allegedly na-dump ito ng madaling araw siguro ng Linggo and then nai-report sa amin nang umaga na, alas-7 na,” Bannawagan told ABS-CBN News. 

(Allegedly he was dumped probably in the early morning of Sunday and then it was reported to us in the morning, around 7.)

“Lahat ng CCTV, lahat ng possible na sinakyan niya, ongoing na ‘yung investigation na ginagawa,” he added. “Inisa-isa nga namin ‘yung mga CCTV, nire-request namin, kasi laging lumabas eh, in and out siya sa hotel.”

(All the CCTVs, all his possible modes of transportation are now undergoing investigation. We are searching all the CCTVs, we are already in the process of requesting, because he usually goes out, he was in and out of the hotel.)

Bannawagan said the victim had visited the Philippines several times. He arrived Friday last week and stayed in a hotel in Makati City, about 20 kilometers where his body was found. He also went to Valley Golf & Country Club in Antipolo City prior to the crime. 

Korean authorities have sent forensic experts and detectives to Manila to coordinate an investigation, The Korea Times reported. 

Bannawagan said they are now in coordination with representatives from the Korean Embassy.

South Korea is the top tourist market for the Philippines with 1.58 million arrivals in 2018, according to data from the Tourism department. 

In April 2019 alone, 130,707 travellers from South Korea arrived in the Philippines, up by 13.68 percent compared to the 114,973 arrivals in the same month last year.

Joo's murder is the latest high-profile crime involving a Korean in the Philippines, following the abduction and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in October 2016.