Yoo Young-chul

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Yoo Young-Chul
Born (1970-04-18) April 18, 1970 (age 46)
Gochang, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea
Other names 레인 코트 킬러 (Raincoat Killer)
Criminal penalty Death
Children 1
Victims 21[1][2]
Span of killings
Country South Korea
Date apprehended
July 2004
Yoo Young-chul
Hangul 유영철
Hanja 柳永哲
Revised Romanization Yu Yeong(-)cheol
McCune–Reischauer Yu Yŏngch'ŏl
This is a Korean name; the family name is Yoo.

Yoo Young-chul (born April 18, 1970) is a South Korean serial killer and self-confessed cannibal. Although he admitted to murdering 21 people,[1] mostly prostitutes and wealthy old men, the Seoul Central District Court convicted him of 20 murders (one case was dismissed on a technicality). Yoo burned three and mutilated at least 11 of his victims, admitting he ate the livers of some of them.[1] He committed his crimes between September 2003 and July 2004, when he was arrested. Yoo explained his motives in front of a TV camera saying "Women shouldn't be sluts, and the rich should know what they've done."

Biographical sketch[edit]

Yoo married in 1992 and had one son. Yoo had been convicted 14 times previously for several different charges, serving a total of seven years in prison prior to his string of murders.[3][4]

Serial murders[edit]

From September to November 2003, Yoo killed several wealthy senior citizens, breaking into their houses and bludgeoning them with a hammer. In each case, Yoo left the appearance of a robbery-homicide, although no money was taken, which confused the police investigators.[3] When the investigation started to intensify, Yoo switched to targeting female masseuses. Yoo was briefly arrested in January 2004 on a minor theft charge, but released two days later.[5]

Starting in March 2004, Yoo called masseuses to his residence in western Seoul and bludgeoned them after having sex with them.[6] His masseuse victims were dismembered and mutilated to hinder their identification. They were buried in the mountains surrounding the city.[3] Police recovered 11 bodies from the mountain behind Bongwon Temple after Yoo's arrest.[6][7]

During initial interrogations, Yoo confessed to killing 19 people. On 18 July 2004, he admitted to an additional murder: the killing a 45-year-old male street vendor.[5] Yoo eventually confessed to killing 26 individuals on 19 July 2004, several days after his arrest, although no details were given. The list of purported victims included several individuals that did not match his prior pattern of wealthy seniors or masseuses.[4] Friends of two of the masseuse victims, whose bodies had been recovered, claimed they were not involved in massage therapy, meaning that Yoo could have other, unreported victims.[8] Although the "Rainy Thursday" murderer was active contemporaneously starting in April 2004, stabbing multiple women late at night in southwest Seoul,[9][10][11] police were unable to link Yoo to those murders.[7]

Several days later, Yoo also confessed to killing a young woman (a worker in a clothing store) on 6 February 2004 in Imun-dong after he suspected her of being a prostitute. Yoo had approached her for questioning by pretending to be a police officer.[12] Approximately a month after his arrest, Yoo confessed to eating the flesh of his victims, although no evidence to prove this was available.[1][13]

Arrest for murder[edit]

Yoo was taken into custody on 15 July 2004 and confessed to murdering as many as 19 people, initially, specifically targeting affluent senior citizens and masseuses.[3] Yoo had raised suspicions by calling a massage parlor where several employees had recently gone missing after receiving similar phone calls, so the owner of the massage parlor, accompanied by several employees and a single police officer, went to the agreed-upon meeting place. The police officer left before Yoo arrived, and Yoo was apprehended by the employees of the massage parlor. Another police officer placed handcuffs on Yoo after he was detained by the massage parlor employees.[14]

While in custody, Yoo feigned epileptic symptoms and escaped from the police after his restraints were loosened. However, he was re-arrested twelve hours later.[3] Yoo had attempted to escape after being arrested in 2002 for rape by faking an epileptic seizure.[15]

The mother of the Imun-dong murder victim rushed at Yoo with an umbrella when he was brought to the Prosecutor's office later in July, screaming that her daughter would still be alive if the police had captured him earlier. A policeman kicked the mother in the chest to subdue her, claiming that his hands were occupied in holding Yoo.[16][17]


Based on the content of his apartment, searched after his arrest, there was some speculation that he patterned his killings after several movies, including Public Enemy, Very Bad Things, and Normal Life.[15][18] Yoo later confessed to being inspired by serial killer Jeong Du-yeong (ko), who had murdered nine wealthy people in Busan from 1999–2000.[1][9]

Yoo stated his resentment of the rich stemmed from early childhood, when he felt envy of a large house due to his childhood poverty.[1][13] Yoo's resentment of women stemmed from a lover, who worked as a masseuse, leaving him after learning of his criminal past.[1]

Trial and penalty[edit]

Police admitted they had little physical evidence linking Yoo to the murders.[19] Yoo first appeared in court on 6 September 2004, refusing to defend himself, declaring his intention to boycott the remainder of the trial, and apologizing to the victims.[20] Yoo boasted that he had no intention of stopping.[21] When he was forced to return two weeks later, he lunged at the three presiding judges and recanted his confession for the February 2004 Imun-dong murder.[22][23] He refused to appear at the next court session on 4 October 2004,[24] after attempting suicide the night before.[25] Yoo again disrupted a later hearing three weeks later when he tried to attack a spectator who had cursed him, which ended with Yoo signing a statement that he would not cause further commotion.[26]

Prosecutors requested the death penalty, which Yoo thanked them for,[27] and Yoo was sentenced to death on 13 December 2004 for 20 counts of murder (the count of murder for the woman in Imun-dong in February 2004 was thrown out).[28][29] Prosecutors appealed the verdict to secure the 21st count of murder, but the lower court's sentence was upheld on 8 June 2005 by the Supreme Court.[30][31]

His case, which appalled South Koreans, has fueled the debate on capital punishment in South Korea. Although the death penalty is still permissible under law, it has not been carried out since 1997. It appeared capital punishment might be abolished prior to Yoo's arrest, but support for the death penalty has grown since learning of his crimes.[32]

The Seoul Central District Court said: "Murders of as many as 20 people are unprecedented in the nation and a very serious crime. The death penalty is inevitable for you in light of the enormous pains inflicted on the families concerned and the entire society."

List of events and his early crimes[edit]

  • 1988: Theft
  • 1991: Theft (sentenced 10 months in jail)
  • June 23, 1993: Married his girlfriend
  • 1993: Theft (sentenced 8 months in jail)
  • October 26, 1994: His son was born
  • 1995: Selling illegal pornography (sentenced 3 million KRW)
  • 1998: Theft, forgery, identity theft (sentenced 2 years in jail)
  • 2000: Child sexual abuse (rape) (sentenced 3 years 6 months in jail)
  • October 27, 2000: Divorced by his wife
  • September 11, 2003: Released from jail

Killing spree[edit]

  • 1st, September 24, 2003 (victims age 72, 67), Gangnam-gu, Seoul: Stabbed the first victim's neck and hit the victim's head with his hammer (4 kg), and killed the second victim (the first victim's wife) with his hammer.[33]
  • 2nd, October 9, 2003 (victims age 85, 60, 35), Jongno-gu, Seoul: Killed three people with the hammer
  • 3rd, October 16, 2003 (victim age 60), Gangnam-gu, Seoul: Hit the victim's head with the hammer. Later the victim was found by her son at 13:30 but died at 14:00.
  • 4th, November 18, 2003 (victims age 53, 87), Jongro-gu, Seoul: Killed the three people with the hammer, got hurt when he tried open a safe, and burned down the house to destroy evidence.
  • On December 11, 2003, Yoo met a new girlfriend (escort girl) but later she found out Yoo's list of crimes and told Yoo not to see her again. He then decided to kill escort girls as a revenge.
  • 5th, March 16, 2004 (victim age 23), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Killed an escort girl by choking, mutilated the body, trashed them on a trail near Sogang University.
  • 6th, April or May, 2004 (victim unknown), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Lured an escort girl to his apartment, beat the victim unconscious with a hammer, decapitated the victim in a bathroom, smashed the victim's head, mutilated the body, then disposed of the body in a construction site near Bongwon Temple in Seodaemun-gu.
  • 7th, May, 2004 (victim age 25), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 8th, June 1, 2004 (victim age 35), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 9th, early June, 2004 (victim unknown), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 10th, June 9, 2004 (victim age 26), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 11th, June 18, 2004 (victim age 27), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 12th, June 25, 2004 (victim age 28), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 13th, July 2, 2004 (victim age 26), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 14th, July 9, 2004 (victim age 24 from Aesongi escort), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • 15th, July 13, 2004 (victim age 27 from Aesongi escort), Mapo-gu, Seoul: Same procedure as the 6th crime.
  • At 5am, July 15, 2004, Yoo was captured by police near Grand-mart in Mapo-gu, Seoul.

In film[edit]

  • The Chaser (2008), a feature film loosely based on Yoo's story.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ahn, Yong-hyun (13 August 2004). "Serial Killer Claims to Have Eaten Victims' Organs". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Yoo Young-chul Included in World’s 31 worst Serial Killers Archived November 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› . koreatimes (2010). Retrieved on 2014-10-11.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ko, Dae-hoon; Min, Seong-jae (18 July 2004). "Suspect held in killings of masseuses, elderly". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Serial Killer Confesses to Additional Murders". Chosun Ilbo. Arirang TV. 19 July 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Min, Seong-jae; Im, Jang-hyuk (19 July 2004). "Serial killings: Police finding more evidence". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Seoul man 'admits killing spree'". BBC News. 18 July 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Police end serial murder probe". Korea JoongAng Daily. 26 July 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Im, Jang-hyuk; Chun, In-sung (20 July 2004). "Police work on other murder ties". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Kim, Seung-hyun; Min, Seong-jae (18 July 2004). "Serial murders have long history in Korea". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Lee Min-a (8 August 2004). "Police try to calm fearful citizens". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Bae, No-pil (9 July 2004). "Seoul murders: Serial killer at work?". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  12. ^ Sohn, Hae-yong (23 July 2004). "Killer admits to one more slaying". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Moon, Byung-joo (13 August 2004). "Bizarre confession made". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  14. ^ Min, Seong-jae (20 July 2004). "Serial killer was caught by masseuses, not the police". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Lim, Mi-jin; Park, Jun-suk (19 July 2004). "Yoo's history hints at drive to kill, escape punishment". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Prosecutors Begin Investigation of Serial Killer". Chosun Ilbo. 26 July 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  17. ^ Im, Jang-hyuk (27 July 2004). "Police apologize for kicking woman". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  18. ^ Kim, In-gu (19 July 2004). "Were Movies Yoo Young-chul's Murder Textbooks?". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Ha, Jae-shik (30 July 2004). "Prosecutors try to buttress case against killer". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  20. ^ Kim, Hyeon-gyeong; Min, Seong-jae (7 September 2004). "Serial killing suspect says he is guilty". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  21. ^ "Serial Killer Says 21 Victims was Just a Beginning". Chosun Ilbo. 6 September 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  22. ^ Geum, Won-seop (21 September 2004). "Suspected Serial Killer Charges Court Bench". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  23. ^ Chung, In-sung; Lee, Min-a (21 September 2004). "Murder suspect causes stir". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  24. ^ "Alleged killer boycotts court". Korea JoongAng Daily. 5 October 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  25. ^ Jeon, Su-yong (5 October 2004). "Accused Serial Murderer Fails to Appear in Court". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  26. ^ Chun, In-sung; Min, Seong-jae (25 October 2004). "Serial murder suspect again disrupts court proceedings". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  27. ^ "Prosecutors demand death for serial killer". Korea JoongAng Daily. 29 November 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  28. ^ Geum, Won-seop (13 December 2004). "Serial Killer Gets Death Penalty". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  29. ^ Cheon, In-seong; Lee, Min-a (13 December 2004). "Court sentences serial killer to death". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  30. ^ "Death Sentence for Serial Killer Confirmed". Chosun Ilbo. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  31. ^ "Death penalty upheld in serial killer verdict". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  32. ^ Lee, Myoung-jin (22 November 2004). "To Be or Not To Be - Fate of Capital Punishment Hangs in the Balance". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  33. ^ "Suspect in Serial Killing Caught". Chosun Ilbo. 18 July 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 

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