By Kim Tae-jong
The Korean community in Vietnam is on the high alert over possible eruption of anti-Korean sentiment following the news that police arrested a South Korean man suspected of murdering his Vietnamese girlfriend, embassy officials said.
Vietnamese media reported that Kim Ki-jong, 26, is suspected of having strangled his girlfriend, stuffing her in a suitcase and setting her corpse on fire. Police found the body Thursday in the outlying district of Cau Giay.
Kim came to Vietnam in December and met the 21-year-old victim in May to learn Vietnamese from her and fell in love with her. She was a student, majoring in Korean language at Hanoi National University.
The two quarreled on Sept. 3 as he did not pay her for the lessons and he was also angry with her after learning that she had a love affair with another Korean man. He reportedly admitted to murdering the girl after the fight.
The incident is expected to fuel anti-Korean sentiment as local residents have been critical of Koreans after a series of reports about mistreated Vietnamese women in Korea. Early this year, a Vietnamese wife killed herself in Daegu, North Gyeongsang Province, as she could not endure her husband's abuse.
Local Vietnamese also seem to have hard feelings against Koreans as investment by Koreans has drastically decreased at a time when the country is suffering an economic slump. Korea was the biggest investor last year but now ranks 10th.
Expressing deep regret over the incident, the Korean Embassy in Vietnam had an emergency meeting with Korean communities and companies in Vietnam. The embassy advised Koreans to avoid unnecessary actions or remarks that could provoke local Vietnamese.