Yoo Young-chul (April 18, 1970 – December 30, 2009) was a South Korean serial killer who murdered at least 20 people, mostly women and elderly people, between September 2003 and July 2004. He was dubbed the “Raincoat Killer” by the media due to his habit of wearing a raincoat during his crimes.
Yoo Young-chul: A Notorious South Korean Serial Killer
Early Life and Criminal History
You Young Chul was born into poverty in 1970 in Gochang, South Korea, on April 18, 1970. He had a troubled childhood and was reportedly abused by his father. He dropped out of school in the eighth grade and began working as a day laborer. Furthermore, Yoo and his siblings were abandoned by their mother at a young age, which left a lasting impact on him.
In an effort to escape poverty and improve his life, You applied to art school. However, he faced yet another setback when he was rejected. Instead, he settled for a technical school. Despite this setback, You had the opportunity to turn his life around. Unfortunately, he fell into a life of crime, engaging in petty thefts and burglaries.
You’s criminal activities escalated, and he was caught stealing from his landlord in 1991. He spent 10 months in prison, reflecting on his actions. However, upon his release, he returned to a life of crime. Over the years, You continued to engage in theft and other criminal activities, resulting in multiple prison sentences.
Yoo Young-chul had a history of violence. He was first arrested for rape in 1994 and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was released in 2002, but he was soon arrested again for theft. He was released from prison in December 2002, just months before he began his killing spree.
The Killing Spree
Yoo Young-chul’s killing spree began in September 2003. He would typically target wealthy elderly people, breaking into their homes and bludgeoning them to death with a hammer. He would then steal money and valuables from the victims’ homes.
Inside prison, Yoo became infatuated with a notorious serial killer named Chung Du-young. Inspired by his idol, Yoo developed a deep-seated hatred for the wealthy and women, believing that they were the root of his problems.
In January 2004, Yoo Young-chul began targeting sex workers. He would lure them to his apartment, where he would kill them and then mutilate their bodies. He also admitted to cannibalizing some of his victims.
Crime Scene Characteristics
Yoo Young-chul’s crime scenes were characterized by several distinct features:
Planning and Strategy: Yoo Young-chul meticulously planned his crimes, conducting extensive surveillance of his targets and their homes. He would often break into the victims’ homes through windows or back doors, ensuring minimal signs of forced entry.
Weapon of Choice: Yoo Young-chul favored blunt force trauma, typically using a hammer or similar heavy object to bludgeon his victims to death. This method left minimal trace evidence, making it difficult for investigators to identify him.
Staging: Yoo Young-chul went to great lengths to stage the crime scenes to mislead investigators. He would often make it appear as though the murders were robberies, leaving valuables scattered around the house. In some cases, he even attempted to set fires to destroy evidence.
Post-Crime Rituals: Yoo Young-chul had a number of post-crime rituals that he followed after each murder. These included washing himself thoroughly, changing clothes, and disposing of his weapons and clothing. He posed as a police officer to lure them into his apartment, where he would bludgeon them to death.
Examples of Crime Scenes
The Gugi-dong Murders: On October 9, 2003, Yoo Young-chul killed three members of a family in Gugi-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. He bludgeoned an elderly woman to death in the bathroom, then killed her daughter-in-law and dismembered her body. He staged the scene to look like a robbery.
The Mapo-gu Murders: Between March and May 2004, Yoo Young-chul killed three sex workers in his Mapo-gu apartment. He would lure the women to his apartment, kill them, and then mutilate their bodies. He disposed of their remains in various locations around Seoul.
Investigation and Capture
The police were baffled by the murders, as there was no apparent pattern or connection between the victims. However, they eventually began to suspect Yoo Young-chul after receiving tips from sex workers who reported that he had been making suspicious calls to them.
Yoo Young-chul was arrested on July 15, 2004. Yoo was eventually apprehended after attempting to cancel an appointment with an escort he had called. The police had set up a trap, and when You canceled the appointment, they pounced on him. He was found with evidence linking him to the murders and was subsequently arrested. He confessed to the murders and was sentenced to death in 2005. His execution was carried out on December 30, 2009.
During his trial, You exhibited violent and erratic behavior. He attacked the judge, attempted suicide, and even tried to assault a spectator. Despite his attempts to evade justice, he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
Yoo Young-chul’s motive for the murders remains unclear. He claimed that he hated women and rich people, but he also said that he simply enjoyed killing.
In a 2005 interview with a South Korean journalist, Yoo Young-chul said that he had been planning his killing spree for years. He said that he was inspired by other serial killers, such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. The media dubbed him the “Raincoat Killer” due to his disguise during the investigation. His reign of terror and complete disregard for human life left a lasting impact on the country.
The Yoo Young-chul case shocked South Korea and sparked a national debate about the death penalty. The case also led to increased police patrols and safety measures in Seoul.