Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Yoo Young-cheol, South Korea's Brutal Serial Killer

A Pimp's Arrest

The body count kept rising, and the police were literally clueless.  On Thursday, July 15, Yoo was arrested for beating a prostitute at a "love hotel" in the Yeoksam neighborhood in southern Seoul. The police had no idea they had captured the killer.  Yoo pretended to have a gimp leg and feigned epileptic twitches.  That was enough to generate sympathy from the police and they un-cuffed Yoo during interrogation.  When they weren't paying attention, Yoo escaped.

Yoo went to visit his mother.  He must have known his killing spree would soon end. His mother later recounted, "I met my son on July 15. He just said `I want to die! I want to die!' I wasn't able to say anything. I cried.'' 

The local pimps operating the jeonhwa bhangs knew something was happening.  They consulted each other and learned that women who received a call from a certain cell phone number didn't return when they went out to visit the client.  Mr. "A," a phone sex pimp, passed this information to Yang Pil-ju, a police officer he knew.  Yang told him that if the mysterious cellphone number appeared again to let him know. 

Around one or two in the morning, another pimp got a call from the suspicious number and he called Mr. "A."  A woman had already been sent to meet the client, but Yoo called back saying he rejected the woman because she was too old and ugly.  He demanded they send a prettier, younger one.

Mr. "A" called Yoo back and said he would be sending a more attractive woman as soon as he could, that Yoo would have to wait a moment.  It was a delaying tactic to gain him time to call the police and organize a plan.  Mr. "A" called Yang and told him what was going on. 

They rounded up a woman to send to Yoo as bait, and they headed to the meeting place, behind the Sincheon Grand Mart.  Mr. "A" brought his friend, two employees, and three other pimps.  Around four in the morning, they met Officer Yang and his colleague, Officer Kim.  It was raining when the woman's cellphone rang.   Yoo told her to take an alley on her left, another on her right, and the directions he gave made it sound like he was suspicious.

The group of men fanned out around the area to keep an eye out for Yoo.  Within ten minutes, Yoo emerged from a dark alley and was spotted by Mr. "A," who asked, "Are you Yoo Young-cheol?"  The man didn't answer.  Mr. "A" and his associates jumped Yoo and patted him down for the incriminating cell phone.  It wasn't there.  They pinned his arms and marched him over to their car to take him to the police station.

As soon as they started the engine, they noticed he was chewing on something odd.  They wrestled him into submission as Officers Yang and Kim arrived.  They removed some partially chewed phone-sex calling cards from Yoo's mouth. Police also found handcuffs and a forged police ID card in Yoo's possession.  Once he was in police custody, Yoo confessed to everything, and then some.

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