In a shocking incident that unfolded in broad daylight in Hwigyeong-dong, Seoul, a Singaporean, who recently completed an undergraduate program in Korea, became the victim of a seemingly unprovoked attack.
The incident, which occurred as the individual was crossing a street near their apartment, sheds light on the importance of remaining vigilant in public spaces, even during what should be peaceful moments.
The Assault Incident
According to a report by Mothership; the victim, a Singaporean who wished to remain anonymous, described the assailant as a man in his early 20s. The attacker, without any apparent reason, punched the victim several times in the face. The assault transpired swiftly, leaving the victim shocked and in fear. The assailant ceased the attack only when another bystander intervened, grabbing hold of him.
Limited Information and Police Response
The victim promptly reported the incident to the authorities, dialing 112 approximately 20 minutes after the assault. However, challenges in identifying the assailant surfaced due to the lack of direct CCTV coverage in the area and the victim’s inability to clearly recall the attacker’s appearance.
Despite the severity of the incident, the police, perhaps influenced by the victim’s composed demeanor and lack of visible injuries, left the scene after collecting basic details. The victim’s subsequent plan to visit a clinic or hospital for a check-up is highlighted as crucial for potential legal actions and documentation.
Advice for Public Safety
The victim, in sharing their traumatic experience, emphasized the importance of public awareness and preparedness in unforeseen situations. Several recommendations were provided:
- Raise Alarm Immediately: In moments of shock, it is crucial to attract attention by screaming. Drawing witnesses’ attention can aid in gathering evidence and testimony.
- Secure Witnesses: If bystanders are present, ensure their cooperation as witnesses. Request that they remain on the scene until the arrival of law enforcement.
- Remember Details: Despite the shock, make an effort to remember the assailant’s appearance. A clear description can significantly aid in investigations.
- Promptly Contact Authorities: Immediately call emergency services (112) once a safe distance from the assailant is achieved. Quick reporting is essential for a swift response.
- Seek Medical Attention: Regardless of visible injuries, visit a clinic or hospital promptly to document any potential internal injuries. This step can serve as a basis for legal actions.
A Call for Caution and Spread of Awareness
The victim intends to escalate the matter by reporting the incident to the Singapore Embassy and their university. The plea to spread awareness, especially among friends and family planning to visit Korea, echoes the growing concerns about random, unprovoked attacks becoming more common. The victim encouraged readers to stay safe and vigilant in an unpredictable world.
Snippet of the Woman’s Online Post
Many Singaporeans come to Seoul for holiday I hope this gets more attention and awareness so people are more careful. Don’t ever let your guard down especially on holiday. And the same thing can happen in Singapore too or anywhere in the world for that matter, so please be cautious at all times.
This happened in broad daylight. For no reason.
For context I’m a Singaporean and just completed my undergraduate program in Korea.
I was crossing a street near my apartment in Hwigyeong-dong, Seoul and a guy in his early 20s was standing on the opposite end. I didn’t really notice if he was looking at me already since I wasn’t paying much attention to him and just minding my own business. As I reached the other end, the guy punched me in the face using his fist. I have never seen him before, and he did not say anything to me prior to or during the attack. It happened and ended so fast it almost doesn’t feel real. It’s very unlikely a case of xenophobia as most people I meet here don’t realise I’m non-Korean until I tell them, so he literally had no reason to do this.
I was hit for maybe about 4 or 5 times before another guy behind grabbed onto him and stopped him. I don’t know if this guy was a mere passerby or if he was the assailant’s friend/brother. After the other guy held on to him and separated him from me, I fled the scene in shock and fear and made a report with 112 about 20 minutes after. I know I probably should have called the cops immediately but your brain really just fails to function in such a situation.
Thankfully he wasn’t that strong so despite getting punched nothing’s broken. I amazingly don’t have any bruises or visible wounds either (hence why it feels literally unreal.) I think it’s a miracle lol. Of course just because I have no external injuries it doesn’t mean that I’m not emotionally injured, but at least the damage was minimal. After the incident I flinched at every single similar-aged male that I made eye contact with on the street as I felt like they were going to hit me. Given that it was a random unprovoked attack, there’s no guarantee that I’ll never go through this again. I also couldn’t walk home alone this evening but thankfully the Seoul government has an initiative that gets volunteers to walk females home. I presume this will be the norm for me for awhile.
Anyway the police came, took my statement and I was told that an I’ll get a call once the case is assigned to an officer (not sure how long this will take). There were no working CCTVs pointing directly at the street and other than the fact that he was dressed in black (like 90% of the population in winter) there wasn’t anything special about his appearance. I also don’t recall much about it since I ran away without turning back to get a good look. There are CCTVs in the vicinity but because I can’t clearly pinpoint his appearance it’s probably going to be hard to trace the direction he left.
There was an old grandpa who saw everything but he ran off too. I don’t recall if there were any other witnesses in the area but I guess it would be impossible to get hold of them by now anyway. The police should have tried to get dashcam footage from cars nearby immediately. I don’t know why they didn’t. Perhaps because I didn’t appear visibly injured, or because I didn’t seem in distress (I was done crying and appeared very calm), or because I’m non-Korean, but they left the site after taking down some details.
I’m posting this to alert people not only to never let your guard down in public, but also to share some things you should do in such a situation so you can react way better than I did.
- Scream. His fist came flying at me without a word or any kind of indication I was too shocked to even make a sound. Most people both in Korea and Singapore look only at their phones when walking. You need to get people’s attention so they stop to look and be a witness.
- If there are witnesses, grab hold of them and ask that they stay until the police at least arrive. I had an old grandpa witness everything but he must had been scared too since he also ran off. I shouldn’t have lost him.
- Remember the assailant’s outer appearance. I know it sounds like a given, but when your brain goes into shock it kinda stops working and you don’t think about anything except how to escape the situation and remove yourself from the perpetuator. I’ve never thought about what to do in such a situation so I was unprepared but if I saw a post like this prior to the attack I’m sure I could have taken notice of more things.
- Call 112 IMMEDIATELY. It took me 20 minutes to make a report because I was spending time processing the situation and crying. The moment you escape the situation and are within safe distance from the assailant, DON’T THINK about anything else and call the police. Wipe your fucking tears we’ve got no time to waste.
- Whether or not you sustained external injuries, go to a clinic or hospital after to get a check and leave a medical record. If the guy gets caught, you have more basis to press any charges or to receive compensation. Even if there’s nothing visible, go. You’re not trying to treat something broken, but to CHECK if anything is. I’m going to visit one tomorrow but it would have been better if I thought of going the day itself.
Such things seem like they only happen to others in the news but it’s very real and it can happen to anyone. So please be careful, and I know it’s close to impossible but try to not panic and stay rational if something happens, instead of just fleeing like I did.
I’ve posted about this in several Korean communities and it’s gaining a tiny bit of attention but definitely the more the better.
I will also be writing to the Singapore Embassy and my University. Spread the word to your friends and family coming on holiday. I know I was just unlucky but random unprovoked attacks are getting more and more common here. I don’t know if it’s the result of a high-stress society like SK. If you understand Korean you can search 묻지마 폭행 to read more accounts on random assault.
Stay safe people. Crazy world out there.