Slain South Korean last seen alive in Makati hotel: police

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2019 01:25 PM

MANILA - The South Korean national whose body was found in Antipolo City on June 16 was last seen alive in a hotel in Makati, police said Saturday. 

Police Lt. Col. Villaflor Bannawagan, chief of the Antipolo City Police, said they found a hotel key card in Joo Yeong-wook's underwear. They traced it to a Makati City hotel where he was staying.

In his room, police found his belongings intact. 

"Lahat ng personal belongings niya, pati passport at pera, ay nasa kuwarto niya sa hotel. So siguro lumabas lang siya para magpahangin,” Bannawagan told ABS-CBN News.

(All his personal belongings including his passport and money were inside the hotel room. So maybe he just went out to get some fresh air.)

Police records showed Joo, 57, checked into the hotel on June 14. He was scheduled for check-out on June 17.

Investigators were able to review CCTV footage from the hotel and found nothing odd or suspicious with Joo’s actions, Bannawagan said.

He gave ABS-CBN News a screenshot of Joo’s last known whereabouts. The victim was seen walking along J.P. Rizal Street near his hotel around 8 p.m. on June 15.

He was wearing a cap, long-sleeved shirt and gray denim shorts, the same clothes he was wearing when he was found dead in Antipolo City the next day.

The only thing missing was the sling bag he was carrying.

Based on records, Bannawagan said the foreigner had booked transport when he needed to go somewhere. A coordination with the company also confirmed that he was brought back to the same hotel.

"Ibig sabihin, in between sa times na 'yun, walang nangyari nung gumagamit siya ng Grab. Yung last ay ito na, hindi na siya gumamit ng Grab. Naglakad nalang siya from [the hotel]. Ito na ang last footage niya,” the police chief said.

(That means, in between those times, nothing happened when he used Grab. He just walked from the hotel. That was the last footage of him.)

Police said Joo's body was found in a dark and isolated area along Taktak Road, part of Barangay Dela Paz in Antipolo City. He had a gunshot wound on his head, his hands were tied behind his back with a duct tape, and his mouth was gagged.

Bannawagan vowed to exert all efforts to resolve the case. Police have yet to determine the motive behind the killing. 

The victim’s wife and daughter recently arrived in the country to identify Joo’s body. They told the police Joo owned a travel agency and also worked as a culture columnist.

“Siya lang eh nakacheck-in dun. 'Yung asawa dumating nitong week lang, pati 'yung anak, kasama ang mga taga-Embassy. Until now, in partnership with the Korean Police, nagcoconduct pa kami ng investigation,” he said.

(He checked-in alone. His wife and daughter arrived this week, they came with staff from the [Korean] embassy. We are still conducting an investigation in partnership with the Korean police.)

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.