The suspect in decades-old serial murders committed south of Seoul has admitted to killing the victims, police said Tuesday.
The 56-year-old Lee Chun-jae, who has been in prison for raping and killing his sister-in-law in 1994, was identified in mid-September as the suspect in the murders of nine women in Hwaseong, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, between 1986-91.
The Hwaseong cases were again brought to light about two weeks earlier when new and advanced police investigation technology identified the suspect’s DNA in evidence found in at least three of the 10 infamous Hwaseong murder cases. One of the 10 cases later turned out to have been a copycat killing.
He confessed to nine rape-murders that took place between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, as well as five additional murders and about 30 rapes and attempted rapes, the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency said in a press briefing.
Three of the five murders appear to have occurred in around the same years in Hwaseong, police said. Lee then moved to Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, in 1993, where he admitted to killing two more before receiving a life sentence for the rape and murder of his sister-in-law in 1994.
The police have said the suspect will not be prosecuted for the Hwaseong cases even if he admits his involvement, as the statue of limitations on the Hwaseong cases expired in 2006. Despite mobilizing tens of thousands of officers then, the police failed to even identify a suspect.
Despite his admission of guilt, police said they are still verifying his claims due to certain irregularities.
The unsolved cases inspired the 2003 hit movie “Memories of Murder.”
By The Korea Herald (ANN) and The China Post
Translated by Carol Kan