Extra! Korea

March 9, 2010

Korea’s huge strides in the forensic sciences

Filed under: crime, science — extrakorea @ 11:30 am

The Korean movie “Memories of Murder” was based upon a real-life serial killer who committed his crimes in the late 1980s. In it, the police investigators had to send a DNA sample to the United States for analysis because Korea lacked the technology.

However, last year, Korean forensic scientists detected a nanogram (one billionth of a gram) of the DNA of one of the victims of serial killer Kang Ho-soon on his jacket, leading eventually to his conviction. The National Institute of Scientific Investigation (NISI) is well-respected enough internationally that scientists from other, developed nations are interested in learning from them.

Last November, the institute trained three Vietnamese officers for a month. NISI also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in 2008 to share information on forensic methods. Chung [Hee-sun, director general of the NISI] says the NFI was particularly interested in how its Korean counterpart manages DNA analysis in two weeks while it takes them three months.

[ snip ]

Using CT and MRI scans in autopsies is of great interest to forensic scientists across Asia, says Chung. For more reliable results, Chung wants to implement preliminary autopsies using CT and MRI, so she has planned cooperative research with institutes from the Netherlands and Taiwan.

[ snip ]

For example in 1995, she says, a DNA sample could identify a suspect from a pool of about one million. This means a sample could lead to some 50 suspects in Korea, whose population is over 50 million. But now, a sample can pinpoint a perpetrator from among everybody on Earth.

That’s how they were able to determine that it was Kim Gil-tae who raped, and probably murdered, Lee Yu-ri, a thirteen-year-old middle school student. Hopefully, they’ll catch that human trash.


  1. […] I mentioned before, Korea’s huge strides in forensic science enabled scientists to identify him as the rapist of the […]

    Pingback by Rapist and suspected murderer of 13-year-old middle school student has been caught « Extra! Korea — March 10, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  2. […] were able to conclusively link a suspect, Kim Kil-tae, with a young girl who was raped and murdered.[3], […]

    Pingback by Korea’s CSI, the NISI « Streetwise in Seoul: Mini-essays about living in Korea — May 1, 2010 @ 5:13 am

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