SEOUL — South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a six-year prison sentence of a former U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan civilian worker convicted of murdering a fellow member of his hiking club following a long-running dispute over club dues.
So Chong Ho, then a U.S. employee with the Installation Management Command, was convicted of murdering Kim Bok Rae after a hiking trip on June 19, 2011, according to U.S. Forces Korea. Both were members of the Seorabul High School alumni hiking club. Their arguments began in 1995 over So’s decision to borrow money from Kim to pay club dues, according to USFK.
Last June, after hiking Seoul’s Mount Gwanak, the alumni group was drinking when the two men began fighting and cursing at one another. In the ensuing altercation, So struck Kim at least eight times on the head and neck with a rock nearly 10 inches long and five inches wide. Kim died 10 days later at Jungang University Hospital from injuries caused by the attack, including a subdural hemorrhage.
So was convicted in November 2011 by the Seoul Central District Court and sentenced to eight years in prison. The Seoul High Court reduced his sentence to six years on appeal in January.
So remains confined at the Seoul Detention House but will be transferred to another facility this summer.