Serial Killer Yoo Young-Chul, part 2: The Sinchon Murders

After almost getting caught on CCTV, Yoo Young-Chul took a break and changed his focus and methods. Rather than going out to victims’ houses, he invited them into his home. This time, his focus was on women.

This is part two of four in our series on Korea’s most notorious serial killer. A man who considers himself a criminal genius, but we’ll find he’s not as intelligent as he makes himself out to be.

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Systematic Killings of Women

The Gap Period

Officetel soon after arrest
Officetel soon after arrest
  • Had moved from a Goshiwon in Sinsu-dong, Mapo-gu to One-room 203 Officetel in the Nogosan-dong
  • ‘Superintendent Choi from the Information Division of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’. 
    • He continued posing as a police officer to extort money
    • He separated his theft activities from his murder activities
  • (Dec 11, 2003) The woman who broke his heart?
    • Met a woman named Kim (27) through a 보도방
    • He started falling for her, and they lived together for two months
    • He was also traveling around Busan and Gwangju around that time
    • Gave jewelry to his girlfriend Kim. Said he found a shopping bag lying around.
    • Proposed to marry her
      • She didn’t want a relationship when she found out he had covered up his criminal background, occupation, educational background (gasp), and previous marriage
    • (Jan 2004) Arrested and held two days on a minor theft charge
    • (Feb 29, 2004) Found out she had been seeing another man
      • Argument
      • Ms. Kim asks for payment before they have sex
      • Outraged, he bound and raped her for 36 hours
        • Did something with pruning shears
        • “It’s not a big deal to kill a child like you. Do you think there is no perfect crime? many. “I’ve done a lot of things that will never be caught,” he said.
          • Some speculate that this shows that he had killed women before, like during this gap period
      • She’s terrified and never meets with him again after hospitalization
      • He sent apologetic texts to her persistently
      • She changed address and phone number
  • THIS is when he decided to target women working in the sex industry
    • 보도방 helpers
    • Business trip massage therapists
      • NOTE: May not have all worked in the entertainment industry
        • Friends of two victims said one was a housewife and another was a skin therapist
      • “Small beauties” who were similar to his wife. Supposedly left alone women who were tall or chubby.
        • Also–Those body types would be too difficult to dispose of
    • Did a lot of research on more efficient ways to kill and dispose of bodies
    • This time he also stole money

(Feb 6, 2004) Imun-dong

  • Confessed to this but it was coerced
  • 25-year-old woman who worked in a clothing store in Imun-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
  • “I approached a woman walking through an alley and pretended that I was a police officer checking passers-by,” a police officer quoted Mr. Yoo as saying. “But as the woman fled, I followed her and stabbed her to death.”
  • He thought she was a prostitute
  • Two years later, it was found that the real murderer was Jeong Nam-gyu, another serial killer who had murdered 13 victims
    • We’re going to do an episode on him in the future

(Feb 9, 2004) Near motel in Ganseok-dong, Namdong-gu, Incheon

  • Prostitute was called to the motel by payphone
  • Used his fake police ID, threatened, handcuffed, extorted W100,000
  • Called the pimp
    • Handcuffed him with the woman
    • Extorted W290,000

How Bodobang 보도방 work

  • None of the ladies are at the HQ
  • Pimp gets a call. He calls the lady and gives the customer’s contact info.
  • When she meets the customer, she calls the pimp: “Oppa, I have arrived.”
  • Finishes work
  • Receives W150,000 deposits
  • Calls pimp: “Oppa, it’s been deposited.”
  • Yoo gave and extra W50,000 and called the owner to make sure it was deposited

5 | 2004.03.16 Kwon 관 (23)

  • Yoo calls a business trip massage (prostitution service) in Sinchon
    • Tells to meet in front of Seodaemun-gu shopping mall
  • Meets Ms. Kwon (23) 
    • Posed as a police officer busting prostitutes
      • Used a scanner and printer to make the fake ID
      • Bought handcuffs at Namdaemun Market
    • Took her to his place with no resistance
  • He didn’t pay her but grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the bathroom when she tried to escape
    • Strangled
Bathroom one week after arrest
Bathroom one week after arrest

Blood on ceiling
  • New challenge: body disposal
    • Before, he had committed these deeds in other homes
    • Only had jackknife, hacksaw, and scissors
      • First used the hacksaw but became more efficient with the knife
    • Had already studied anatomy on the internet and had made a butcher plan
      • Removed the head with the jackknife
        • Hung the head on the trash can next to him
        • Drained all the blood
      • Cut the arms, legs, and torso
      • Did all this with the shower on and while playing the soundtrack to “1492: Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis
        • Divide into 10 small black plastic bags and then into 4 large black plastic bags
      • NOTE: His officetel had a 3 million won deposit, and rent was W400,000 per month — His WATER BILL alone was more than W400,000 a month
    • Took a taxi to San 1, Daeheung-dong, Mapo-gu
    • Left the parts on a mountain behind the library of Sogang University
      • Under a tree
      • Kept the bags in case there were fingerprints on them

2004.04.13 Ahn | Hwanghak-dong, Dongdaemun-gu

  • Something different
  • Ahn (44) selling porn and fake Viagra in front of Baeksang Plaza Pharmacy on 1st floor of Samyeong Building
  • Ahn packs his wares at the end of the day and heads to his Vesta van
  • Yoo shows his fake police ID
    • Accused him of violating the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act
    • Handcuffed and put in the passenger seat
  • Ahn becomes suspicious
    • Had a history of run-ins with the law and could spot a fake ID
    • Yoo drove Ahn’s van while Ahn’s hand was handcuffed to the door handle
    • Was also by himself – usually police worked in pairs
    • Yoo realized this guy would have to die
  • Yoo drove to a hospital parking lot near his officetel in Sinsu-dong, Mapo-gu
    • Seemed like he was going to extort money
    • Assured Ahn that he will let him go
    • But quickly brings out the murder weapons from his home
    • Parked at Segang Orthopedic Surgery Clinic (less witnesses)
    • Got out of the van with his black bag and went around to the back seat
    • Grabbed Ahn’s face and stabbed him in the neck and head
    • Believed he was dead and laid him under the back seat
      • Ahn kicked him desperately
      • Stabbed him in the thigh and tried to cover him with a bag
      • Beat his head with the hammer 20x
    • Ended up cutting himself, so he decided to torch the van
    • Put newspapers and clothes on Ahn
    • Went to his apartment to clean up and change clothes
    • Drove to Wolmido, off of Incheon (1 a.m.)
      • Samho Petroleum parking lot in Bukseong-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon
    • Put the wrist and handcuffs in a black bag and left near the breakwater in front of Wolmido Hwe Town, 300m away
      • Had to hide the victim’s identity and dispose of the handcuffs
    • Parks the car between two tanker trucks and tries to set off an explosion
      • Didn’t work, but he did burn the car and the body
  • Aftermath
    • Family was devastated, and it gained publicity
    • 7 months later, brother committed suicide
    • 8 months later, youngest brother committed suicide
    • The remaining brother attempted suicide and is barely living with psychiatric treatment
    • Victim’s wife and children cut off ties with in-laws and disappeared

2004.05 Kim Hee-seon 김희선 (25)

  • Yoo had moved to Officetel No. 203 in Nogosan-dong
  • Yoo makes a call to another service in Seodaemun-gu
    • Arranges to meet in front of SK Telecom next to the Green Theater
  • Women  in late 20s, early 30s
  • He convinces her to go to his house
  • Sex
  • Woman sees handcuffs and feels uncomfortable
  • Yoo takes her to the bathroom humorously and tickles her
    • She naturally crouched in response to tickling
    • He took out the hammer and struck her
    • While still alive, he decapitated her with the jackknife
  • Dismembered the rest as before
    • One extra step: cut off fingertips with scissors and flushed them down the toilet
  • Buried around the wall of a residential area behind the construction site of where a charcoal sauna was being built, near the temple at Bongwon-dong, Seodaemun-gu
    • NOTE: Not killing near Christian churches but now near a Buddhist temple
  • Also buried corpses behind the library at Seogang University

2004.05.07 Shin Min-a 신민아 (25)

  • Yoo stops by a PC bang near Green Theater in Seodaemun-gu (and falls asleep?)
  • Sees a woman (25) at a computer writing discreet messages
  • Yoo poses as a police officer with a fake ID
  • Brings to the officetel
  • Murders. Same method.
  • By this time, he’d gotten routine
    • Would stroke her hair and say, “Goodbye” before striking

2004.06.02 Han Suk-ja 한숙자

  • Woman (35) meets him behind Hyundai Dept. Store in Sinchon
  • Coaxes her to go to his place if he pays more money
  • Sex

attack in the bathroom

  • Asks her to shower with him
    • Strikes her with the hammer in the bathroom
    • Showing this tendency to strike after showing tenderness and intimacy

2004.06 Unidentified

  • Killed a woman he met behind clock tower of Hyundai Dept. Store in Sinchon

2004.06.09 Jang Gwang 장광 @5 a.m.

  • Yoo calls for a woman (26) at a motel (which is why there’s a precise time known)
  • Poses as a police officer and threatens
    • Shows fake ID, handcuffs her, and takes her to his officetel

2004.06.17 Kim Ji-ho 김지호 @10 p.m.

  • Yoo called for prostitution services. A 30-year-old woman was supposed to arrive, but a 27-year-old woman appeared. 
  • Murdered and abandoned
  • Stole her “Avatar” watch

2004.06.25 Woo Gu-yeon 우구연 

  • Used the fake police ID tactic again

2004.07.02 Kim Mi-yeong 김미영 (26) 

  • Uses the fake police scam on a 26-year-old woman from a service near Yeoksam Station
  • While taking her to the officetel, he found out she had the same name as the woman who broke up with him

  • Sits her on the toilet and kills her
    • Face was very mutilated

2004.07.09 Ko Seon-hee 고선의 (24)

  • Usual
  • But this time he gave her traditional medicine?

2004.07.13 Im Mi-yeon 임미연

  • Last one

“Yoo Young-cheol always gave 50,000 won more to prostitutes. Lim was happy and put 50,000 won separately and called the owner to confirm that it was ‘deposited’. At that time, Yoo Young-cheol heard the owner say, ‘The customer is waiting in Hwagok-dong, so go straight there.’”

After disposing of Lim’s body, Yoo Young-cheol drove Lim’s car to Hwagok-dong. In Hwagok-dong, Yoo Young-chul called his boyfriend on Lim’s cell phone. 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds… . After 10 seconds, Yoo Young-chul hung up the phone. As a result, Lim became ‘disappeared at around 4 am in Hwagok-dong’.

  • In eight months since September 2003, Yoo had murdered 20 people
  • Yoo later said he still got goosebumps when he says his son called him, “Daddy, do you still have a cold?” It was as if he was saying, ”I know everything. Don’t do that.”
    • He then stopped in the middle of cutting up the corpse in order to eat with the pieces all lined up

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