After a dayslong search for a fugitive who escaped custody Saturday, police officers on late Monday captured Kim Gil-soo after he was seen at a public phone booth in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province, just to the north of Seoul.
The 36-year-old escapee was caught at around 9:26 p.m. He was reportedly calling his girlfriend at that moment, according to police.
“I didn’t plan it,” the fugitive told local reporters when asked if he had premeditated his escape. He also denied that he had a facilitator who had helped him flee.
Upon his arrest, Anyang Dongan Police Station transferred Kim to the Seoul Detention Center at around 4 a.m. on Tuesday after briefly conducting a preliminary investigation, nearly 70 hours after he escaped custody.
Police explained that such measures were taken per the Act on Execution of Sentences and Treatment of Inmates, which stipulates that any correctional officer may execute the arrest within 72 hours after the abscondence or period of attendance.
“After going through consultations with relevant agencies, such as the prosecution, it was deemed appropriate to hand over the suspect immediately to correctional institutions after the preliminary investigation,” a police official was quoted as saying via news reports.
Kim was detained at the Seocho Police Detention Center in Seoul after being arrested on charges of special robbery on Oct. 30. He reportedly lied to the victim, saying he would make currency exchanges at a cheaper rate than local banks.
Following the arrest, he was sent to prison on Saturday, but was temporarily relocated to a hospital in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, just south of Seoul, to receive treatment for abdominal pain after swallowing the tip of a plastic spoon.
The fugitive later fled the hospital by taxi on Saturday at around 6:20 a.m., after asking corrections officers to uncuff him for a bathroom visit.
Kim’s last known location was Express Bus Terminal in central Seoul, where he arrived by taking a combination of taxi, bus and subway rides. The fugitive -- who stands 175 centimeters tall and weighs around 83 kilograms -- was last spotted there sporting a beige sweatshirt and pants, with his face behind a white mask.
Following his escape, Kim was seen with a new haircut and clothes in surveillance camera footage. He is believed to have stopped by a hair salon while on the lam.
In the hunt for the fugitive, authorities on Sunday asked for the public’s help in locating Kim and offered a cash reward of 5 million won ($3,800) for any information or action that could help capture him. A day later, rewards offered to capture the escapee increased to 10 million won.
Separately, Kim was previously convicted of assaulting and raping a woman in 2011, for which he served seven years in prison.