- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) - A South Korean court Wednesday handed down a death sentence to a masseur convicted of killing 10 people, including his wife and mother-in-law, an official said.

Kang Ho-sun, 38, was indicted in February in the slayings of eight office workers, karaoke bar employees and university students after abducting them between September 2006 and December 2008. Prosecutors said he had confessed to those slayings.

Kang, who worked as a sports massage therapist, was also accused of burning to death his wife and mother-in-law in 2005 in an attempt to win insurance money. He denied those charges, saying the blaze was accidental and that he barely escaped.

However, Kang was convicted on all counts during a hearing Wednesday, said an official at the court in Ansan, south of Seoul. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to media.

Although courts still hand out the death penalty, the country has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment and has not executed anyone since December 1997.

The serial killings were the worst in South Korea since Yoo Young-chul was convicted and sentenced to death in 2004 for killing 20 people, mostly prostitutes and wealthy elderly people.

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