A Vietnamese bride was killed by her South Korean husband last Wednesday (July 7), less than a fortnight after she joined him in Korea.
Thach Sang and his wife Truong Thi Ut were told last Friday by the Foreign Affairs Department of the southern province of Can Tho that their 20-year-old daughter, Thach Thi Hong Ngoc, was beaten to death by her 47-year-old husband Jang Do Hyo.
According to the Korean Times, police in Busan found Ngoc dead in her husband's home on July 7. They arrested him two days later, suspecting that he had beaten and stabbed her.
Jang reportedly told the police he was instructed by ghosts to kill his wife. His young bride had come to South Korea without knowing the language or the husband's history of mental problems, the paper reported.
But Ngoc's parents said she had learnt some Korean after the wedding.
Five years ago, Jang had attacked his mother. The mother said he'd suffered heavy depression since he turned 40 but had stopped using medicines after the wedding, the Korean Times reported.
A friend of Ngoc who had been to Korea earlier said she had seen photos of Ngoc's body on local television showing her lying in a pool of blood, Ngoc's parents said.
The marriage broker, whose name has not been released, had called the family saying that Jang had slapped Ngoc in the face and she had fallen on a pointed object on the floor that cut her through a scar she'd had after her appendix surgery.
But Sang said Ngoc had never undergone any appendix surgery.
Ngoc's mother Ut said her daughter had met Jang on February 7 via a brokerage firm whose name was not released, and their wedding was organized ten days later in Ho Chi Minh City.
Before the wedding, Jang's family gave Ngoc's family VND3.8 million (US$199), of which they spent VND1.8 million on renting a car to take the family to HCMC. Jang gave Sang and Ut $500 after the wedding.
Ut said she saw her daughter the last time on the day after the wedding. Then the couple stayed in HCMC before flying for Korea on June 30.
On July 1, Ngoc called home saying she was doing fine, but she did not call home after that. No one answered the phone when the parents called the groom's house, Ut said.
"My family was poor so we agreed to let her go, hoping that she would be happy. Now ... I hurt like a knife cutting my heart. I feel sorry that I let her go so far and die in another country," said Sang, the father of five children.
The parents came to the South Korean Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday to make enquiries and prepare to fly to South Korea and take Ngoc's body home.
A representative from the embassy on Monday told Vnexpress they will pay for the flight tickets and other services during the parents' trip.
The Can Tho Women's Association sent a note to the Central Women's Association to help with procedures so that the parents can leave quickly.
Ngoc's death is preceded by other incidents of violence that
Vietnamese brides have been subjected to in South Korea.
In 2007, Huynh Mai from the Mekong Delta's Kien Giang Province was beaten to death by her drunken husband two months after she went to live with him in South Korea.
The couple were introduced by an international marriage broker in December 2006.
Over the last two decades, poverty has driven thousands of women from poor families, especially the Mekong Delta, to marry older men, mainly from South Korea and Taiwan, despite language and cultural barriers.
Recent South Korean statistics show that up to 20,523 Vietnamese women have married South Korean men, the second highest proportion of foreign brides in the country.
Many of them, however, find themselves alienated due to language barriers and a lack of cultural understanding.