Korean Missionary Killed in Kazakhstan

A South Korean missionary to Kazakhstan was found dead on Monday after two intruders made their way into the house striking her with a blunt instrument and fleeing the scene. It is the first time a Korean national has been killed in the central Asian country since South Korea established diplomatic ties in January 1992.

Jin Hee Kim, 34, who was serving as a missionary in the Karagana, central Kazakhstan was found dead by her husband Hahn at their house with the two suspects beside her. Hahn was also injured in a struggle, after which the two ran away.

Officials at the South Korean Embassy in Kazakhstan said the Karagana police, who immediately began an investigation, believe the murder occurred during a robbery attempt rather than as the result of a personal grudge. The suspects had apparently taken $1,000 in cash, a VCR, a camera and other items from the house.

The official also rejected speculation that the murder may have been related to terrorism aimed at Koreans.

The incident has, however, raised concerns over security as South Korean President Moo Hyun Roh is scheduled to visit the nation next Monday. Sources say Roh will preside over the signing of several trade deals when he visits Russia and Kazakhstan this month.