Prosecutors in South Korea have sought the death penalty for four suspects in a crypto murder-kidnapping case that saw a woman kidnapped and killed for her crypto holdings.
The incident took place in Seoul’s wealthy Gangnam district in March this year.
The woman is believed to have worked at a crypto-related company and had large amounts of tokens, including Bitcoin (BTC).
The suspects at the Seoul Central District Court trial claimed the woman’s death was an accident, but have repeatedly confessed to kidnapping the victim and trying to steal her coins.
South Korea has not executed a criminal since 1997.
But the nation has never formally abolished the death penalty.
Almost 60 people remain on death row at the time of writing.
Police arrested and charged seven people shortly after the woman’s body was found abandoned near a dam in the city of Daejeon days after her abduction.
Prosecutors say Lee Kyung-woo was the mastermind of the crime, with Hwang Dae-han his alleged main accomplice.
And they believe the duo was paid to commit the crime by a couple named Yoo Sang-won and Hwang Eun-hee.
The prosecution asked the court to sentence all four to the death penalty, Newsis reported
South Korean prosecutors want death sentence for ‘cryptocurrency killers’
Officials also asked the court to hand down a life sentence for Yeon Ji-ho, who is believed to have helped Lee and Hwang Dae-han kill the victim.
Prosecutors told the court that Lee and Hwang Dae-han had prepared and premeditated the killing for some time.
They also explained that Yoo Sang-won and Hwang Eun-hee paid Lee and the others nearly $52,000 to carry out the act.
Prosecutors told the court in their closing summation:
“The cruelty of this murder (…), which took place in the middle of Gangnam, is beyond description. (…) The defenders show no remorse for their crimes and continue to make allegations about the police who investigated the case. A punishment proportional to the gravity of the crime is absolutely necessary.”
In August, Lee distanced himself from an earlier confession he had made, claiming he had been coerced into it by unscrupulous police officers.
Prosecutors also asked the court to sentence Lee’s wife to five years in prison.
They asked the court to sentence another alleged accomplice, who they say abandoned the planned killing at the last minute, to seven years in prison.