If you have ever watched Signal, Memories of Murder, and Confession of Murder then you’ll all know that this drama and movies are based on the true serial rape and murder cases that happened in Hwaseong, South Korea during year 1986 to 1991. Within 5 years, there are 10 female victims of rape and murder age ranging from middle school student to old lady age 71 year-old. But the police weren’t able to catch the serial killer, all along this year, well at least not until 18th September 2019, where they found that the killer, Lee Choon Jae (56 year old this year) was actually has been imprisoned for life sentence for raping and murdering his sister in law in 1994. 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.
The 10 victims of the serial murder are:
1. Mrs. Lee (71) was murdered on her way home from her daughter’s house, her body found on 19th September 1986. (Est. time of death 15th September 1986)
2. Ms. Park (25) was murdered when she went to take a bus after an arranged meeting, her body found on 23rd October 1986. (Est. time of death 20th October 1986)
3. Mrs. Kwon (24) was murdered on her way home, it is believed that she was attacked in front of her house, her body found on 23rd April 1987. (Est. time of death 12th December 1986)
4. Ms. Lee (21) was murdered after she get off the bus, she was on her way home after an arranged meeting, her body found on 21st December 1986. (Est. time of death 14th December 1986)
5. Ms. Hong (18) was a high school student who was on her way home, her body found on 11th January 1987. (Est. time of death 10th January 1987)
6. Mrs. Park (29) was on her way out to pick up her husband with an umbrella when she was attacked, her body found on 9th May 1987. (Est. time of death 2nd May 1987)
7. Mrs. An (54) was murdered on her way home, her body found on 8th September 1988. (Est. time of death 7th September 1988)
8. Ms. Park (13) was murdered when she was sleeping in her bed room, her body found on the morning of 16th September 1988. (Est. time of death 2 AM of 16th September 1988)
9. Ms. Kim (14) was murdered on her way home, her body found on 16th November 1990 (Est. time of death 15th November 1990)
10. Mrs. Kwon (69) was murdered on her way home, attacked after she got down from a bus, her body found on 4th April 1991 (Est. time of death 3rd April 1991)
The are 2,050,000 policemen working on this case at that time. Yes, you read it write more than 2 million of policemen are working on the case, with 21,280 suspects is being interrogated by the police but nothing came out. This serial murder was so well known that time not only because several murders happens within a short period of time, but on how merciless the killer is. He killed by strangulation after raping his victims, then he would either put an underwear on his victim’s head or tied up their hands with socks or stockings. Then he will either stabbed his victim’s breast 9 times or put in 9 pieces of peach into his victim’s genitals.
On 25th July 1989, they caught a suspect Mr. Yoon who was 22 year old that time, and it turned out that Mr. Yoon killed victim no. 8 but not the other victims, so victim no. 8 is in fact the victim of a copycat killer. The police kept trying to solve the remaining 9 cases but turned out nothing.
Interesting thing is long before the police found out that Lee Choon Jae, the killer they tried to find has been imprisoned all along the year in a prison in Busan, Yoo Young Chul, a serial killer who killed and mutilated 20 people between 2003-2004 once said, “I think the killer (of Hwaseong Serial Murder) has either being imprisoned for another crime or he is dead already. Because once you started a killing spree, it is impossible to stop it,”
For sure, only a serial murderer know how another serial murderer thinks. And Yoo Young Chul was right, Lee Choon Jae didn’t continue his killing spree not because he just decided to go absent or atone for his sin, but just because he simply couldn’t kill since he has being imprisoned for a life time in Busan prison.
So after being imprisoned in Busan prison for so many years and the police didn’t even look that way, what make the police able to find the right killer this time? Well, they should thank the newest DNA test system which happens to be able to identified Lee Choon Jae as the killer, even though he no longer can be prosecuted due to the the expiration of the case.
Above is the montage of the Hwaseong Murder Case at that time. It was drawn based on the description from one of his victim who managed to escape and the bus driver who believed to have driven the bus which Lee Choon Jae took just minutes before he attacked one of his victim. And below is his high school time photo which surfaced recently on internet, some people are joking on how the montage and his real face look so different so that the police didn’t able to identify the murderer at that time.
So what do you think? Do you think Lee Choon Jae looks very much different from his montage?
I love to travel and eat!! I'm a freelance Korean English Chinese Bahasa Indonesia interpreter, who love to blog and write. I worked in a plastic surgery hospital in Korea for 5 years before pursuing my interpreting and writing jobs. My previous blog on plastic surgery (which has been permanently closed down T-T) has been published in a book.