In South Korea there is a fear of a new serial killer

In South Korea there is a fear of a new serial killer

LETTER FROM SEOUL

Screenshots show suspect Lee Ki-young tormenting a cat in a swimming pool. Screenshots show suspect Lee Ki-young tormenting a cat in a swimming pool. YOUTUBE

Has South Korea Arrested Another Serial Criminal? The question has occupied investigators and has intrigued the media since Lee Ki-young was arrested in late December 2022 for the murder of a taxi driver and his girlfriend. On Jan. 6, JTBC broadcast video of the 31-year-old man tormenting a cat in a private swimming pool in August 2022. The footage shows Lee Ki-young repeatedly throwing the cat into the pool and seems to be enjoying the cat’s agony. “Animal torture is a typical feature of psychopathy,” said Oh Yoon-sung, a professor at the Department of Police Administration at Soonchunhyang University.

Lee Ki-young is said to have killed a taxi driver in his 60s on December 20. He is said to have beaten the man to death after luring him to his home on the pretext of compensating him for an accident he caused while under the influence of alcohol. He then hid his body in a closet, a body discovered five days later by his then-partner.

Questioned by police, the suspect also confessed to the murder of his landlady and girlfriend, in her 50s, in August 2022. He is said to have left his body on the bank of a river in Paju, a city north of Seoul. Since then he lived in the house of the deceased wife.

The seriousness of the crimes prompted police in Gyeonggi province (neighboring Seoul) to release the suspect’s name, photo and age. Traditionally, a suspect’s personal information is not made public until they are convicted.

“It’s not easy to conclude right now that he’s a psychopath. He lied several times and not all evidence was collected. ยป Lee Soo-jung, forensic psychologist

And the revelations follow from his troubled past. In addition to the cat abuse, it turned out that Lee Ki-young got into a fight with an acquaintance last April. He would have bitten his opponent until he bled. The suspect is also accused of fraud: he is said to have used his victims’ credit cards and taken out loans totaling around 70 million won (52,420 euros) on behalf of his girlfriend. Which raises questions about his lifestyle. He had no job but was reportedly married twice and had one child. He would have told his family contradictory versions of his life.

Lee Ki-young underwent a psychological evaluation, but investigators could not determine whether he fell into the psychopath category “due to insufficient information,” police said.

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