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(2nd LD) Prime minister voices regret over domestic assault on Vietnamese woman

Politics 18:30 July 08, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES lead paras with prime minister's message; CHANGES headline; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon expressed regret Monday over a recent assault on a Vietnamese woman by her Korean husband, as a related video clip went viral and sparked public uproar.

Lee met with To Lam, the visiting Vietnamese minister of public security, at his office.

"It's very regrettable," he told the minister and said he is sorry for the incident.

Lee pledged more efforts to protect the human rights and security of Vietnamese people residing in South Korea.

The minister was on a visit to Seoul for talks with Min Gap-ryong, commissioner general of the Korean National Police Agency, which were scheduled before the news reports of the assault.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) talks with To Lam, Vietnamese minister of public security, at his office in Seoul on July 8, 2019. (Yonhap)

Min vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the case. It made headlines in both countries over the weekend, after a video went viral of a 36-year-old Korean man punching and kicking his Vietnamese wife in the presence of their two-year-old son.

The man, a resident of Yeongam, South Jeolla Province, about 390km south of Seoul, reportedly beat his wife for three hours last Thursday for not speaking Korean well before being put under emergency detention.

Min Gap-ryong (R), commissioner general of the Korean National Police Agency, walks with To Lam, Vietnamese minister of public security, before holding talks at the agency headquarters in Seoul on July 8, 2019. (Yonhap)

Min said, "It is very regrettable that a Vietnamese marriage migrant woman has recently been victimized by domestic violence. I promise a thorough investigation and rehabilitation for the victim."

A South Korean man accused of severely beating his Vietnamese wife arrives at the Mokpo branch of the Gwangju District Court on July 8, 2019, to attend his arrest warrant hearing. (Yonhap)

In response, the minister expressed gratitude to Min for paying particular attention to the Yeongam assault case and asked that the case not exert a negative effect on the relationship between the two countries, according to police officials.

Hours later, the Yeongam man was formally placed under detention, after the Mokpo branch of the Gwangju District Court approved an arrest warrant for him, citing concerns he may try to flee.

He argued during his arrest warrant hearing at the court that he has long harbored ill feelings towards his wife due to their different languages and ways of thinking.

Police added child abuse to the husband's criminal charges, as the assault occurred in front of the child.

According to the Yeongam Police Station, investigators plan to file additional charges against the man, as he confessed to beating his Vietnamese wife on two other occasions -- at their home in Yeongam on June 25 and in Vietnam in April this year.

Meanwhile, Min and Lam also discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in public security.

Min expressed hope that both countries strengthen cooperative investigations and expand cooperation for the arrest and repatriation of criminal fugitives through Interpol.

"South Korea looks forward to cooperating more closely with Vietnam in the fight against international crimes, such as illicit drugs, cybercrimes and terrorism," Min said.

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