03/20/2008

South Korean police arrest suspected U.S. cop killer

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean police said Wednesday they had arrested a Korean-American wanted for more than a decade by the FBI for the murder of a retired American policeman.

Police arrested David Nam at a private school where he taught English near Seoul on Tuesday, according to the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency.

Nam, 30, fled to South Korea in 1998, two years after he allegedly shot to death a retired police officer in Philadelphia, said Lee Jae-sul, a senior officer with the agency.

Nam is accused of breaking into the house of Anthony Schroeder to rob him and killing the 75-year-old when he resisted with his own gun, Lee said.

Nam was arrested by U.S. police in early 1997 but was set free a year later on bail of $1 million on the condition that he wear electronic monitoring bracelets and be remain under house arrest, the police agency said in a statement.

However, when he failed to appear for his trial the next year, it was discovered he had escaped to South Korea, the statement said. It is unclear how he managed to fly to South Korea.

Nam first worked in South Korea at a ceramic ware factory under the false name of Yu Tae-seok, but surrendered to police in 1999 after a television station aired a program on him, according to the police statement.

However, he was released because South Korea and the U.S. had no formal extradition treaty at the time and went into hiding again. The two countries ratified an extradition treaty later that year.

Nam told investigators he has since worked as an English teacher at small private institutes under other false names, Lee said. He has worked at the institute in Gwangju, about 20 miles south of Seoul, for the past two months ago, Lee added.

A South Korean court will soon determine whether to hand Nam over to the U.S., police said.

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