Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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

Downtime in Mapo

Map of Korea with Seoul locator
Map of Korea with Seoul locator

In order to make enough money to live on, he would cruise Seoul's numerous red-light districts and extort cash from hookers and pimps using a police ID that he forged himself.   Yoo settled down in a studio apartment in the area where he grew up.  He put down approximately $4,000 as a "key money" deposit and paid roughly $450 in rent each month.

Apartment 203 was in a small commercial building in the Nogosan neighborhood of Mapo.  He was fifty steps away from a small police station and 200 steps away from a 24-hour convenience store where the clerks thought of him as a nice guy.  He kept his apartment in immaculate condition.  His clothes hung neatly on a freestanding rack, and his personal possessions were few.

In his apartment, he watched movie clips and porn on his personal computer. In the drawer of his computer desk, there was the Korean DVD "Public Enemy" a story about a police officer hunting a serial killer that killed his own mother and father, and the American films "Very Bad Things" and "Normal Life."

DVD cover: Public Enemy
DVD cover: Public Enemy

His bookshelf near his bed revealed more about him. Yoo kept a scrapbook and it held newspaper cut-outs of toys he wanted to buy his son, advertisements for pistols, list of pop singers and their songs, and scribbled notes about cars, computers and music equipment.  There was an art album stuffed with sketches of female nudes and portraits, and it is evident he is highly talented in the Japanese manga style of drawing.  Also on the bookshelf was his son's notebook filled with crayon pictures.

When Yoo stepped outside of his apartment, he picked up calling cards off the ground.  They are everywhere in Seoul—stuffed under windshield wipers, tucked in mailboxes, and seemingly tossed about on any flat surface.  There are so many around that most people cast them aside as litter.  On the card is always an erotic photo of a beautiful woman promising hot sex and a number to call. 

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