30-Year Investigation of Hwaseong Serial Killings End

  • By Kwon Sang-eun

    July 03, 2020 13:36

    Lee Chun-jae

    Police on Thursday wrapped up a 30-year investigation of serial killings that terrorized Hwaseong south of Seoul after finally pinning them on a man who is already in jail.

    Investigators concluded that Lee Chun-jae is a psychopath who was responsible for 14 unsolved murders, 10 of the them in Hwaseong, and his crimes were triggered by predatory sexual urges.

    Police in Gyeonggi Province on Thursday said Lee committed 14 murders and raped nine other women. Police discovered last year that DNA samples collected from the scenes of three of the crimes matched Lee's DNA, which was in the national database because he has been in prison in Busan since 1994 for raping and murdering his sister-in-law after his wife walked out on him.

    The investigation into the killings that lasted from 1986 to 1991 is finally concluded, but the statute of limitations ran out in April 2006, so he will face no additional punishment.

    After being transferred to a prison in Suwon to be investigated over the serial murders, Lee was sent back to the penitentiary of Busan to serve out his life sentence.

    Police said Lee's crimes were motivated by "pent-up frustration and sexual desire due to a monotonous life after he was discharged from the military."

    Lee started raping women in January 1983 when he was 23. In September that year, he committed his first murder. For the next four years and seven months, he committed a total of 14 grisly murders, desecrating the corpses of his victims if they had resisted vehemently or if he was in a bad mood.

    An exhaustive investigation of over 52 face-to-face interviews by profilers and other forensic psychologists found that he felt no remorse or shift in emotion as he committed more murders, which eventually escalated into serial killing, while his modus operandi became increasingly grisly.

    Police said Lee also exhibited extreme self-centered tendencies by blaming the victims for the murders.

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