Taekwondo instructor charged with murder in the deaths of a 7-year-old student and the boy's parents

SYDNEY (AP) — A taekwondo instructor was charged from his hospital bed Thursday with three counts of murder for the deaths of a 7-year-old student and the boy’s parents in Sydney.

Lawyers for Kwang Kyung Yoo, 49, appeared on his behalf in the Parramatta Local Court hearing, but did not apply for Yoo to be released on bail or enter any plea to the charges.

Yoo, the owner of the Lion’s Taekwondo and Martial Arts Academy and known to his students as Master Lion, remains under police guard at a hospital after undergoing surgery for what police described as stab or slash wounds to his chest, stomach and arms.

Police allege Yoo strangled his student and the boy’s mother, Min Cho, to death at his academy on Monday evening. Yoo then allegedly drove her car to the family home where he fatally stabbed her husband Steven Cho.

Yoo then drove himself to hospital where he told medical staff and police he had been attacked in a supermarket car park. The bodies were discovered on Tuesday.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the violence, nor said whether Yoo was injured in a struggle or the wounds were self-inflicted.

Yoo’s only connections to the family made public so far were that all four were born in South Korea and the boy was a regular taekwondo student.

Yoo must remain in custody either under police guard in hospital or in prison until his case is due back in court on April 18.

He is expected to appear in court on that date by video link. He did not appear in court on Thursday.

The maximum penalty for someone convicted of murder in New South Wales state is life imprisonment, with a standard non-parole period of 20 years for the murder of an adult and 25 years for the murder of a child.