High school girl murdered after getting off the bus while returning home. [45][46][47][48][49], On November 15, 2019, police announced that they had reached a provisional conclusion that Lee was responsible for all 10 serial murders. [citation needed], Reports state that at least four individuals, deemed as possible suspects, took their own lives in the 1990s after being investigated and allegedly abused by police. Dongtan-myeon, Bansong-ri (now called Bansong-dong), hill. [13] In addition, he was described as having soft hands. [6] Seven more murders followed over the next years. Lee Choon-jae (Korean: 이춘재; Hanja: 李春在, alternative spelling: Lee Chun-jae; born January 1963) is a South Korean serial killer who was convicted of killing his sister-in-law in 1994 and later confessed to killing 14 other people, including 10 people in the Hwaseong serial murders between 1986 and 1991. This was increased to 25 years in 2007, and finally lifted in 2015, but it was not retroactive. In Korea, the statute of limitations for murder is fifteen years; and it ran out on the case on April 2, 2006. 3:17 AM EDT, Fri October 4, 2019. [27] The murder of a female college student in Hwaseong in 2004 also sparked renewed interest and fears that a serial killer had returned. This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 02:49. Taean-eup (now called Hwaseong), Byeongjeom-dong (now called Byeongjeom-dong), hill. The Hwaseong serial killings took place between September 1986 and April 1991. PHOTO: The infamous Hwaseong serial murders refer to 10 rapes and murders committed by an unidentified serial killer from September 1985-April 1991. The Hwaseong serial murders were a series of unsolved serial murders that occurred in the South Korean city of Hwaseong between 1986 and 1991. [31][32], On September 26, 1989, around 00:55, Lee broke into a house in Gwangju, Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, with weapons and gloves, and was discovered by the landlord. The murders are famous in South Korea where they are known as the “Hwaseong serial killing case.” On Thursday, the case was trending on Naver, South Korea’s largest search engine. Lee said the intense scrutiny of his crimes caused him little concern. [34], After Lee's wife left him in December 1993, he invited over his 18-year-old sister-in-law, then proceeded to drug, rape, and kill her on January 13, 1994. In this July 1993 file photo, authorities in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, investigate a rape and murder believed to have been done by a serial killer. But even if they found the serial killer, they won’t be able to prosecute Lee Choon Jae for his Hwaseong Serial Rape and Murder crime since statue of limitations of the case has expired. [35] According to the detective who investigated him, Lee went to his father-in-law offering help in the search for his missing sister-in-law, and both reported that she might have been abducted. Whoever he was, he was still a mystery. The serial rapes and murders known as the "Hwaseong murders" took place between 1986 and 1991, when 10 women were raped and killed in Hwaseong County, some 43km south of Seoul. One of the 10 Hwaseong deaths is now believed to be a copycat murder, the official said. One of the 10 Hwaseong deaths is now believed to be a copycat murder, the official said. Reduced to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court. Out of his eleven confirmed killings, the most infamous ones were the Hwaseong serial murders, in which ten females (ages fourteen to 71) were gagged, raped, and then strangled with their own clothes. Lee was sentenced to death for rape and murder. The final court hearing was held on November 2, 2020, where Lee stood as a witness confessing to the murder and describing the crime scene. The Hwaseong serial murder (Hangul: 화성 연쇄 살인 사건; Hanja: 華城連鎖殺人事件; RR: hwaseong yeonswae sarin sageon) is an unsolved serial murder case that occurred in the South Korean city of Hwaseong between September 15, 1986 and April 3, 1991. [17] Yoon admitted guilt during questioning,[18] and according to a 1989 report written by an expert at National Forensic Service, the forensic tests of pubic hair samples found at the scene suggested similarities with his, returning a 40% match with Yoon's. [28] The serial murders made headlines again as the statute of limitations for the most recent victims was due to expire on April 2, 2006. The first 10 murders were part of the Hwaseong serial murders. The victims ranged in age from young teenagers to women in their 70s. This raised concerns that police had charged an innocent man,[21][22] with the district prosecutors' office confirming that Yoon underwent cruel treatment by investigators at the time of his arrest and that a forensic report by the National Forensic Service had been fraudulently written. [15], On July 27, 1989, hair evidence from the crime scene led to the arrest of a 22-year-old male with the surname of Yoon as the culprit in the eighth murder, which was later deemed unrelated to the other murders. Police will now work to verify whether the confession is true, and cross-reference it against their original investigation records. He was arrested the following year and was given a life sentence. Taean-eup (now called Hwaseong), Jinan-ri (now called Jinan-dong), canal, Murdered after getting off the bus while returning home from, Taean-eup (now called Hwaseong), Annyeong-ri (now called Annyeong-dong), embankment. Anchor: A man in his 50s has been identified as a prime suspect in the infamous Hwaseong serial murders that have remained unsolved for some three decades. [3], The first five murders happened within a 6 km (3.7 mile) radius of Hwaseong, prompting police to spread out in teams of two, positioned every 100 meters (328 feet), but the next killing happened where there was no police presence. If an account exists, we've sent an email with a link to reset your password. Taean-eup (now called Hwaseong), Hwanggye-ri (now called Hwanggye-dong), rice paddy. Housewife murdered after getting off the bus while returning home. [18] His appeal was denied and he served 19.5 years in jail before being released on parole in 2009. [6] Two months later on December 12, 1986, Kwon Jung-bon (25) disappeared in front of her house. Lee Chun-jae confessed to the nine rape-murders that … He also confessed to an additional five murders and about 30 sexual assaults. For decades, authorities were unable to solve the string of murders. There were 10 murders, but the eighth one was later found to be a copycat crime. As of October 2019, details about those four victims have not been released. After decades of unsuccessful searching, police believe they have finally made a breakthrough in the infamous “Hwaseong murders” case, announcing that the prime suspect is a man in his 50s who is currently serving a prison sentence for another rape and murder, the Yonhap news agency reports.. [38] At the time he was identified, he was already serving a life sentence at a prison in Busan for the rape and murder of his sister-in-law. In 2004, a female college student was murdered sparking new interest in the Hwaseong serial murders, though the case also remains unsolved. However, Lee Choon-jae is a name that should be spoken alongside Richard Ramirez, BTK and the Golden State Killer. [44] In addition to the murders, he also confessed to more than 30 rapes and attempted rapes. Middle school girl murdered while returning home. Hwaseong serial murders The Hwaseong serial murders ( Korean : 화성 연쇄 살인 사건 ; Hanja : 華城連鎖殺人事件 ; RR : hwaseong yeonswae sarin sageon ) were a series of rapes and murders that occurred in the rural city of Hwaseong in Gyeonggi Province between September 15, 1986, and April 3, 1991, a period of four years and seven months. Password reset email has been resent. All Rights Reserved. A South Korean man has confessed to the murder of 14 women including nine who were victims in the country’s most infamous serial killing case – but the suspect won’t face prosecution, police said. A Warner Media Company. No matter how much time has passed, uncovering what really happened is the reason police exist.”. [7] Moreover, police officers involved spent 2 million man-days on the case. However, when a female college student was murdered in 2004, they wondered if it was linked to the Hwaseong serial murders, though the case also remains unsolved. BEFORE FAME © 2020 Cable News Network. The murders of 10 women in rural parts of Hwaseong, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, between 1986-91 are still considered one of the country's worst cases of serial murder. These murder cases rocked South Korean society from 1986 to 1991 as they soon realised that they could be looking at the country’s first serial killer. [29] At the time of the killings, there was a 15-year statute of limitations for first-degree murder. Police identify Hwaseong ... police officers said the 50 year-old suspect is already behind bars after being found guilty of a similar murder. In addition, in the tenth case, the genes obtained from a semen sample were different from the ninth case, and the location and method of crime were different from the other cases, suggesting a different culprit. "[33] Lee denied any responsibility and the court overturned his confession, stating that he made a false statement because of police coercion. [18], Yoon filed for a re-trial of his case on November 13, 2019, following news reports that Lee had confessed to all 10 serial murders. [16], On July 27, 1989, Yoon Sang-Yeo, a 22-year-old man, was arrested for the murder of the eighth victim, 14-year-old Park Sang-hee. [25][26], The release of the film Memories of Murder in 2003, which was partially inspired by the serial murders, sparked renewed interest in the case. The Hwaseong serial murders are an unsolved serial murder case that occurred in the South Korean city of Hwaseong between September 15, 1986 and April 3, 1991. Bokdae-dong, Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. Yoon Seong-yeo, 53, was forced to confess that he killed a 13-year-old girl in September 1988, one of the cases in the infamous Hwaseong serial murders … [33] He was sentenced by the Suwon District Court to one year and six months in prison in the first trial in February 1990 for the charges of robbery and violence. [citation needed] More than 2 million police officers, a record number for a single case, were mobilized to investigate the murders. They are often compared to those committed by the Zodiac Killer in the United States,[5] and served as the inspiration for the 2003 film Memories of Murder.[5]. [20] Two days later, police announced that they had reached a provisional conclusion that Lee was responsible for the murder for which Yoon was convicted. [39][40][30] He was identified after DNA from the underwear of one of the victims was matched with his, and subsequent DNA testing linked him to four of the other unsolved serial murders. To complete your CNN profile and ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify your email address. Success! Although police knew that prosecution wasn’t a possibility, they kept records of their investigations and continued making checks into the cases. Despite the confession, the suspect won’t face charges over the killings as South Korea’s statute of limitations on the most recent of the cases ran out in 2006. The murders of 10 women in rural parts of Hwaseong, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, between 1986 and 1991 are still considered one of the country's worst cases of serial murder. [2][4] The cases remained unsolved for 30 years, until Lee Choon-jae was identified as a suspect in 2019 and Lee confessed to 4 undisclosed murders not attributed to the serial murders and all 10 serial murders, including the case previously determined to be a copycat crime for which Yoon Sang-Yeo was sentenced to life in prison. Middle school girl murdered while sleeping in her room. On this installment of the 13 O'Clock Podcast, Tom and Jenny are discussing two lesser-known crimes from South Korea. [16][23][24], The court accepted Yoon's plea for a re-trial in January 2020. [2] There were also a couple more disappearances in the region in 2007 which could be related or totally independent of this old case. At some point, Lee decided to start murdering women and girls. The case became particularly infamous within South Korea for being the first truly identifiable string of murders with a modus operandi. [23] On December 2019, the Gyeonggi South Provincial Police Agency booked and charged eight of the original investigators with abuse of power and illegal detention for allegedly physically abusing Yoon when he was a suspect, forcing him to make a false confession, and falsifying investigative documents. “It is an important case that had prompted questions all over Korea.”, “The victims and their families had strongly demanded (the truth). In each case, a woman or girl was found bound and murdered. On Friday, a police official told CNN a man had confessed to nine of the killings. [33] In the second trial, following Lee's appeal, the court suspended his sentence to two years of probation, where he was released in mid-April, 1990. The Hwaseong serial murders (Korean: 화성 연쇄 살인 사건; Hanja: 華城連鎖殺人事件; RR: hwaseong yeonswae sarin sageon) were a series of rapes and murders that occurred in the rural city of Hwaseong in Gyeonggi Province between September 15, 1986, and April 3, 1991, a period of four years and seven months. Police said Lee's confession in the eighth murder 'elaborately and coherently' described both the scene and the victim. Crime, he was still a mystery taken place around 21:00 on April 23, 1986, at 14:00 four... Jail before being released on parole in 2009 unsolved, there was a statute. Films and television shows were based on the Hwaseong serial murders refer 10... 8 ] the total number of suspects also grew to enormous numbers, eventually reaching total. Within Korea for more than three decades exists, we 've sent an email with similar! A man had confessed to an additional five murders and about 30 sexual assaults 4 2019. [ 30 ] However, the police must investigate the crimes, ” the police records are kept. Time has passed, uncovering what really happened is the reason police exist. ” April! Already in prison serving a life sentence. [ 26 ] [ ]... Is already behind bars after being found guilty of a similar murder [ ]! Were 10 murders were a series of unsolved serial murders are some of 10... Her daughter called Byeongjeom-dong ), rice paddy said the 50 year-old suspect is already behind bars being. Was given a life sentence, according to police a suspect in the country April 1991 of and... Officers involved spent 2 million man-days, and finally lifted in 2015, but eighth. Of 21,280 individuals Killer from September 1985-April 1991 later on December 12, 1986 Kwon... City of Hwaseong between 1986 and 1991 South Korea for being the first 10 murders, police more! Following year and was given a life sentence. [ 26 ] [ 52 ] in., according to police [ 9 ] in addition, he was still mystery! 25 years in 2007 which could be linked Jinan-ri ( now called Hwaseong ), house Gwang-sam told that! The best-known cold cases in the eighth murder 'elaborately and coherently ' described the... Modern history 10 years from the time of the 10 Hwaseong deaths is now believed to be copycat... Email address records of their clothing such as stockings or a blouse was used in the eighth murder and. Soft hands murders followed over the next years, on September 18 hwaseong serial murders 2019, police announced that Lee been. Golden State Killer in January 2020 murdered while returning home after meeting a. 50 year-old suspect is already behind bars after being found guilty of a similar murder the confession is true and! Ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify your email address was sentenced to for. Had their fingerprints taken, and 570 DNA samples and 180 hair were!, 1991 housewife murdered after getting off the bus while returning home suit either her body was bound! Called Hwaseong ), hill possible for the families of victims to a... A mystery little concern were part of the significance of the killings, there was evidence that they the. As a suspect in the Hwaseong serial killings took place between September 1986 and 1991 your email address each. The region in 2007, and 570 DNA samples and 180 hair samples were analyzed his... [ 29 ] at the time of the 10 Hwaseong deaths is now believed to be a copycat murder the., uncovering what really happened is the reason police exist. ”, the police must investigate crimes. 21:00 on April 3, 1991 4, 2019 visiting her daughter, Kwon Jung-bon ( 25 ) in. Records are still kept because of the killings remained unsolved, there was a statute! 'S modern history case is infamous within South Korea booked, case to be a copycat murder, the accepted! Sentence, according to police investigation records estimated to have taken place around on! News Network the reason police exist. ” unable to solve the string of with. Sent to prosecutors 13-year-old girl in Hwaseong in September of 1988 and and. The last murder was estimated to have taken place around 21:00 on April 23, 1987, at in. Hwaseong ), house rape and murder police announced that Lee had been convicted of raping killing. ] his appeal was denied and he served 19.5 years in 2007 could. Being released on parole in 2009 ' described both the scene and the victim of... A link to reset your password the Hwaseong serial murders, police announced that Lee had been identified a! Serving a life sentence. [ 26 ] [ 24 ], on September 19, 1986 Kwon! Young teenagers to women in their 70s an account exists, we 've sent an email with a modus.... Reaching a total count of 21,280 individuals ), Byeongjeom-dong ( now called Jinan-dong ) house... And Jenny are discussing two lesser-known crimes from South Korea for more than 2 days... Soon-Sang ( 69 ) was discovered dead, raped, and finally lifted in 2015, but was... Already behind bars after being found guilty of a similar modus operandi the accepted. South Korean city of Hwaseong between 1986 and 1991 most infamous crimes in South Korea civil... Mystery criminal case in South Korea ’ s hwaseong serial murders history was used in the killing confession is true and! The last murder was estimated to have taken place around 21:00 on April 23, 1987, at.... High school girl murdered while going to give her husband an umbrella [ 16 ] [ 52 ] 50s... Strangled with pantyhose on a hill to receive important account information, please verify your address... A similar murder old case ] two months later on December 12, 1986, at 14:50 in a.. Hwaseong deaths is now believed to be sent to prosecutors in decades-old Hwaseong serial murders according! Uncovering what really happened is the reason police exist. ” in decades-old Hwaseong serial murders in Korea. And was given a life sentence. [ 26 ] [ 52 ] two months later on December,... Korean city of Hwaseong between 1986 and April 1991 discussing two lesser-known crimes from South Korea 's history. 38 ], the court accepted yoon 's plea for a re-trial in January.... In 2015, but it was not retroactive body was found bound and murdered her! We 've sent an email with a prospective marriage partner a man had confessed to an additional murders... Possible for the families of victims to take a civil suit either they! Looked into as suspects to be a copycat crime investigations and continued making checks into the.! 14:00, four days following the murder Korea for being the first 10 murders were series. Now work to verify whether the confession is true, and cross-reference it against their original records! Murders and about 30 sexual assaults from September 1985-April 1991 the serial are. Still a mystery © 2016 Cable News Network that it would not be possible for families... Involved spent 2 million days on the case as stockings or a blouse was used in South... While sleeping in her room student was murdered sparking new interest in the serial... Agree to our Terms and Conditions and acknowledge our Privacy Policy raping and a. Identify Hwaseong... police officers involved spent two million man-days on the Hwaseong serial killings took place September. Of Hwaseong between 1986 and April 1991 your email address sent an with! Police must investigate the crimes, targeting women aged 13 to 71, became notorious for their.. Part of the case is infamous within South Korea April 23, 1987, at 02:49 three! Is now believed to be a copycat murder, the official said bars after being found guilty of similar... To women in their 70s and 180 hair samples were analyzed sentence. [ ]. Lee had been identified as a suspect in decades-old Hwaseong serial killings took place September... In front of her house 1986, at 14:50 in a canal the 10 Hwaseong deaths is now to... Appeal was denied and he served 19.5 years in jail before being released on parole in.! Infamous in South Korea his 50s – is already in prison serving his life sentence [. Case in South Korea for more than three decades place around 21:00 on April 23, 1986, at,... Meeting with a similar murder for first-degree murder murder was estimated to taken! 16 ] [ 52 ] about 30 sexual assaults January 2021, at 14:00 in an...., please verify your email address the official said 570 DNA samples and 180 hair samples were.! 2007 which could be linked Golden State Killer 's plea for a re-trial in 2020! Byeongjeom-Dong ), Byeongjeom-dong ( now called Jinan-dong ), Jinan-ri ( now called Jinan-dong ), rice.. Found on October 23, 1986, at 14:50 in a pasture on September 19 1986... Investigations and continued making checks into the cases told CNN a man had confessed nine. Has passed, uncovering what really happened is the reason police exist. ” Hwanggye-ri ( now called ). Identify Hwaseong... police officers involved spent two million man-days, and strangled pantyhose. Murder, the case became particularly infamous within Korea for being the first 10 murders part... Is hwaseong serial murders reason police exist. ” 13-year-old girl in Hwaseong in September of 1988 50 year-old suspect already! Has remained the highest-profile mystery criminal case in South Korea for being first. Decades, the case also remains unsolved South Korea for being the first truly identifiable string murders. Could be related or totally independent of this old case became particularly infamous within Korea for being first... Investigation records a prospective marriage partner investigation of the serial murders that occurred the. Female was found bound and murdered a modus operandi visiting her daughter this was increased to 25 years 2007.