NATIONAL

Suicides of 3 families in less than 20 days raises alarm

By Choi Ji-won
  • Published : Nov 21, 2019 - 15:41
  • Updated : Nov 21, 2019 - 18:30

A family of three and a woman living with them were found dead in a public rental apartment in Incheon, marking the third apparent family suicide reported in the past 20 days.

According to the Incheon Gyeyang Police Station on Wednesday, the local fire authorities found a woman, 48, her son, 23, and her daughter, 19, dead in their house at around 12:40 p.m. Tuesday. The body of the daughter’s friend was also found with them.


Police tape on Wednesday blocks the entracne into the house in Gyeyang, Incheon, where a family of four were found dead the previous day (Yonhap)

Four letters were found in the house, revealing the family’s financial difficulties.

Investigations show the family had been relying on government subsidies since last October after the mother became unemployed.

Police said the family was not delinquent on utility bills or taxes, which may be why they were undetected by the government’s monitoring system for those who need immediate financial support.

On Nov. 6, a man, 57, and his sons, aged 3 and 5, were discovered dead in a parked car in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province. Based on the man’s text messages sent to relatives, police believe financial difficulties to be behind the deaths.

Two days earlier, the decomposed body of a woman in her 70s and her three daughters in their 40s were discovered inside their unit in a multiplex house in Seongbuk district, northern Seoul. They had not paid rent for the last two to three months, and unpaid bills were found in the mailbox.

“Most of these families commit suicide not because they weren’t aware of government support. The current system requires people to become either poor enough to receive government subsidies or to apply voluntarily, branding themselves as failures,” said Lee Sang-yi, a Jeju National University School of Medicine professor and co-chief of the civic group Welfare State Society.

“A general welfare system that can aid people in making recovery and becoming financially independent should be adopted,” he added.


By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)