Court hears Korean money exchange ended in shallow grave

IS SANGHYUN Hwang a calculating murderer or a panicked man who didn't mean to kill Min Tae Kim? That is the question a jury has been asked.

Mr Hwang has pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to murdering fellow South Korean and former Bundaberg fruit picker Mr Kim but pleaded guilty to interfering with a corpse.

The court heard the two met after Mr Kim posted an online ad looking for someone to exchange about $10,000 in Australian dollars for the equivalent in South Korean won.

The court heard Mr Hwang took Mr Kim to a rental property in the southern Brisbane suburb of Algester to exchange money. Mr Hwang allegedly then took the money.

But there Mr Hwang is alleged to have put Mr Kim into a headlock and killed him. Mr Hwang has admitted he put Mr Kim in the headlock but maintains he did not intend to kill him.

Mr Hwang told the court he stripped Mr Kim naked and tied a cord around his neck before burying him in a shallow grave.

In his closing address Mr Hwang's lawyer Greg McGuire told the jury Mr Hwang had no plan to murder Mr Kim.

"No one plans an offence as serious as murder so poorly," he said.

He said Mr Hwang did not take a weapon with him to carry out a planned murder and police quickly found Mr Kim's body.

But Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller said Mr Hwang's actions showed he was "manipulative" and "calculated".

He said Mr Hwang stripped Mr Kim naked and tied a cord around his neck to make his death look like a suicide.

Mr Fuller said even if Mr Hwang only developed the intent to kill Mr Kim when he put his arm around his neck, he was guilty of murder.

"The pivotal moment in time is when this man's arm was around Mr Kim's neck and applying pressure," he said.

"Intention may pre-exist. It may be formed in an instant."

The trial continues. - ARM NEWSDESK

CORRECTION: This story previously said Mr Kim was a backpacker. He was in fact a fruit picker. The story has been corrected to reflect this. 

Topics:  court death murder

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Models used as bait in ‘sextortion’ scam

Australians are being warned not to hand over cash to scammers who threaten to expose them online.

One scam started as friend request accepted on Facebook

Why unemployed man paid for a pensioner's groceries

THANKFUL: Heather Hale was reunited with Dean Reid, the man who paid for her groceries at Yamanto Woolworths a fortnight ago.

Dean Reid noticed the elderly woman at Woolies and decided to help

Local Partners