OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday applied murder and theft charges to a 64-year-old man already in custody for the dumping of a woman’s body in Gobo City, Wakayama Prefecture. Prior to his apprehension, police believe the suspect drove with the victim’s body inside his car, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Aug. 21).
Police accused Norio Kikumi, a resident of Highashi Osaka, of killing Kim Seon-Hwa, the 48-year-old manager of a “snack” hostess club located in Osaka’s Ikuno Ward.
At approximately 10:00 p.m on the night of July 17, Kikumi visited the bar, where he was a regular. Police suspect that a few hours later Kikumi killed Kim by strangling her with a belt inside the establishment. He then departed with the manager’s body.
The suspect is also alleged to have stolen 11 items from Kim, including her shoulder bag containing 90,000 yen in cash. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 21), the value of property stolen totals 270,000 yen.
Kikumi admits to killing Kim, a Korean national, but denies the charges of theft. “There is no question I strangled her with a belt, but I did not intend to steal anything,” the suspect is quoted by police.
On July 25, Wakayama police originally arrested Kikumi on abandonment charges after Kim’s body was found covered by a cardboard box and slumped in the passenger seat of his car, which was parked in front of a love hotel. Police believe that the suspect drove his vehicle through Nara and Wakayama prefectures with the corpse in the front seat.
On July 18, the husband of Kim contacted police to report her missing.