These 12 Small Towns Were Devastated by Random Killing Sprees and Shocked the World
These 12 Small Towns Were Devastated by Random Killing Sprees and Shocked the World

These 12 Small Towns Were Devastated by Random Killing Sprees and Shocked the World

Mike Wood - November 26, 2017

These 12 Small Towns Were Devastated by Random Killing Sprees and Shocked the World
Woo Bum-kon. Murderpedia.

12 – Uiryeong County, South Korea

Our final small-town psycho is the most deadly on the list, but one about whom most people know very little. The name of Woo Bum-kon will not much to the majority of readers for several reasons. Firstly, his actions took place in 1982, the earliest of any of our spree killers, and secondly, he committed his atrocities in South Korea, well beyond the usual Western media cycles. In many ways, however, the deadly actions of Woo Bum-kon will seem quite familiar.

Bum-kon was a policeman in Uiryeong County, South Gyeongsang Province in South Korea, one of the most isolated and least populated parts of the country. He had served his national service, as all Korean men do, before joining the police force in the small town of Kungyu. He was living with his girlfriend when he began his massacre, something which she later suspected had fuelled his rage, as many in the rural community had conservative views and resented that the couple lived together while not being married.

He was due to begin an evening shift on the force at 4 pm on the afternoon of April 26, 1982, and left his house after an argument with his girlfriend. At half-past 7, he returned home, assaulted his girlfriend and smashed up their house, before heading off to the police armoury and grabbing weapons. At 9.30 pm, he entered the post office, cut communications wires and shot three workers, before moving to another village, where he killed six more people with his M2 Carbine and a hand grenade. He continued travelling throughout the rural villages in his police uniform, using the trust that it engendered to con locals into letting him into their houses, whereupon he shot them.

In one instance, he was invited into a home that was hosting a wake and killed 12 people inside and another 8 outside. In another village, he murdered 18 villagers in the marketplace as they shopped. The police were attempting to get to him, but it took them an hour to assemble enough men to take him down. When they finally caught up with him, Bum-kon holed himself up in a rural farmhouse and killed himself. After a rampage that had lasted almost six hours, Woo had murdered 56 people and injured a further 35.
The outrage in South Korea was huge. The police force in Uiryeong County came under extreme criticism, both for allowing Woo Bum-kon to assemble so many weapons in the first place – he had walked right into the police armoury while they were having a meeting – and then for their slow response in apprehending him. The provincial chief was suspended, officers were charged with negligence and, after a national scandal, the interior minister and the national head of police resigned.

Uiryeong County was previously among the least known parts of Korea, with little to mark it out at all. After the untimely arrival of Woo Bum-kon, it became synonymous with violence and destruction.

 

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