First Suicide of 2012 in LA Korean Community

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A Korean man in his thirties reportedly hanged himself in Los Angeles late last week in what appears to be the first case of suicide in the community this year, reports the Korea Times.

The man, identified as 32-year-old Jong-seong Park, was found in his west Los Angeles apartment by police on January 6. Police were notified by Park’s brother after he received a disturbing email earlier that day from Park hinting at his intention to take his own life.

According to the police, Park’s wife was found in the bathroom with an injury to her head believed to have been caused by her husband, who worked as a long distance truck driver.

The couple have two children ages 3 and 5, who were with relatives at the time. Neighbors expressed surprise, telling the paper that the family moved to the area three years earlier and that they seemed quiet and friendly. There was no history of domestic abuse.

The Korean community in Los Angeles witnessed a spate of suicides last year, with four in November alone. Nationwide, there were 21 suicides involving Koreans or Korean Americans in 2011.

According to the Korean Family Center in Los Angeles, some 40 percent of clients come to the center seeking help with relational issues between spousal partners. One expert quoted in the article said, however, that many Korean couples are reluctant to seek outside help for troubled relationships.