BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - A South Korean businessman was shot dead in his apartment in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, officials said Monday. It was the second recent killing of a foreigner in this Central Asian country, which is hosting U.S. and foreign troops.
Park Yong-bok, 46, was found dead from head injuries Saturday in his apartment, and used cartridges from a Makarov pistol were found alongside, Interior Ministry spokesman Djoldoshbek Buzurmankulov said. There was no evidence of a robbery or struggle, indicating that the killing was related to organized crime, Buzurmankulov said. There are as yet no suspects in the case, he said.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry in Seoul confirmed the death, but gave no further details.
Yong-bok had owned several containers in a Bishkek market, and came to the country in 1994, according to Buzurmankulov.
On June 29, a Chinese diplomat and his aide were forced to stop the car they were driving in Bishkek and were killed by two gunmen. Officials have said the attack was ordered by a businessman who owns a large wholesale market in Bishkek, and was apparently linked to large fires at another market in the city that is dominated by Chinese traders.
Buzurmankulov said Monday that the number of such organized crime-related killings was on the rise in Kyrgyzstan.
"This year, it's clear that we've become like St. Petersburg or Moscow in criminal infighting and murders," he said.
Previous attacks in Kyrgyzstan have been blamed on extremists among China's Turkic Muslim Uighur minority. Small groups of Uighurs have carried out assassinations and bombings as part of a struggle for an independent homeland in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, which shares a border with Kyrgyzstan.
Associated Press, July 8,2002