A Virginia man pleaded guilty yesterday to trying to kidnap two Ivy League sons of a wealthy businessman for a $4 million ransom.
Speaking through a translator in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Heon Sik Park, 39, of Alexandria, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted hostage taking.
Judge Marvin J. Garbis said he would wait for a report on Park's background before scheduling his sentencing.
A statement of facts read in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia B. Evans said the FBI learned through an informant that Park planned to kidnap the brothers. Agents and Baltimore City police thwarted the kidnappings when they arrested Park at a storage facility on Belmont Avenue in Baltimore on April 24.
Jong Sun Kim was attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and his brother, Jong Yun Kim, was at Brown University in Providence when they were targeted by Park, court records said. Both remain students at their respective colleges.
The guilty plea came as jury selection was about to get under way in Park's trial. Prosecutors worked out a plea agreement with his public defender yesterday afternoon.
The statement of facts said Park began planning the kidnappings in 1989. In the early 1970s, he had worked in a Korean manufacturing plant owned by Jong Hoo Kim. During that time, the plant owner reneged on a promise to reward his employees with annual bonuses, according to the court document.