Kills Himself in Jail
By Kwon Mee-yoo -
The Korea Times
November 22, 2009
Jeong Nam-gyu, 40,
a serial killer imprisoned while awaiting execution, committed suicide
in his cell Sunday.
murderer killed himself Saturday morning in his cell at the Seoul
Detention House in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province, south of Seoul.
According to the
Ministry of Justice, the inmate on death row hung himself with a noose
made from a plastic bag. Upon being discovered by a guard, Chung was
rushed to hospital, but he died Sunday morning.
He did not leave a
note, but officials found a memo in his private notebook. It said, "The
government is not considering abolishing capital punishment. Life is
like a cloud, coming and going transiently."
The Ministry of
Justice said Jeong might have been aware that the death penalty was
becoming a social issue and uncertainties regarding his execution may
have driven him to take his own life.
that he died from brain damage caused by hypoxia, but the ministry still
requested an autopsy by the National Institute of Scientific
Investigation to confirm the cause of death.
Jeong was sentenced
to death for the murder of 13 people, including two minors, and for
inflicting serious injuries upon them while sexually assaulting them,
during a period from January 2004 to April 2006. He was convicted in
2007 and sentenced to death.
Many of the victims
were women and children living in southwestern Seoul. Jeong said, during
police questioning, that he had targeted the humble residential areas
because closed-circuit televisions were installed in places where the
He was one of
nearly 60 condemned criminals in local correctional facilities. Since
its foundation in 1948, South Korea has executed a total of 920 people,
according to a Justice Ministry. The last execution was carried out in
December 1997, when 23 people were put to death.
International listed Korea as one of the "death penalty-free states" in
2007 as it had not executed anyone for 10 years.
Jeong's suicide has
stirred up criticism over the poor management of death-row inmates.
Plastic bags, which
the serial murderer used to hang himself, are distributed in every cell.
Jeong's cell was not equipped with CCTV and the prison has not been able
to determine when Jeong hung himself exactly.
According to the
Justice Ministry, 82 convicted criminals have committed suicide in
prison since 2004. Most suicides took place in isolated cells and one
third of the criminals had been convicted of murder.
The Legal Research
and Training Institute said that more than 30 prisoners out of 100,000
commit suicide in Korea, according to data from 2006, which is the
highest rate among member countries of the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD).
security has been blamed for allowing inmates to sneak in banned items.
From 2004 to 2008, 836 convicts were found to have brought in prohibited
objects such as cash, cellular phones and cigarettes.
Unrepentant Serial Killer Gets Death
The serial killer Chung Nam-gyu has been
sentenced to death on charges of murdering 13 women in southwestern
Seoul and the metropolitan area. The Seoul Southern District Court
condemned the 37-year-old killer to death on Thursday. The bench
said capital punishment was inevitable since he showed no remorse
and was likely to kill again if he returns to society.
Asked for any last comment, Chung said, “My life has
been twisted in a strange way. This tragedy would not have happened if
the government and society had helped me.” In his first trial in July,
he said, “I was just unlucky to get arrested. If I hadn’t been caught, I
would have continued killing people.” As prosecutors demanded the death
penalty on Aug. 31, Chung said, “I’m not sure I feel sorry for the
victims. I felt proud of killing such a large number of people.” But he
reportedly said he is afraid to die.
Chung was convicted of killing 13 people and
seriously injuring 20 in 24 assaults between January 2004 and April
2006. In March, he broke into a house in Bongchon-dong, Seoul where he
hit the owner’s three daughters with blunt objects, killing two of them.
Killer 'Felt Exhilarated' After Crimes
self-confessed serial killer who slaughtered random victims in Seoul
told on Wednesday police he felt a sense of exhilaration after
committing his crimes and watching the fires he set to destroy the
evidence. Yeongdeungpo police said Wednesday they discovered other
crimes Chung Nam-gyu committed besides the ten assaults, five of them
deadly, he confessed to on Tuesday.
37-year-old suspect, who admitted to burning hatred of the wealthy, made
thorough preparations for his crimes, police say. He watched crime
thrillers such as “Memories of Murder” and “The Silence of the Lambs”,
read several books on psychology, science and the human body, and ran 10
km every day to build up his physical strength. He also used different
weapons to make it difficult for police to track him down.
confuse police investigators, he used knives in seven cases in 2004 and
blunt objects in four cases in 2005 and two cases this year,” police
said. They are also investigating whether he raped his victims after he
confessed to killing women who resisted his attempts to rape them.
Killer Motivated by 'Blind Hatred'
have arrested a serial killer who hit at least five random victims over
the head with a blunt object and burned their bodies to erase evidence
after robbing them of no more than a few thousand won. Among others, the
37-year old identified as Chung is suspected of killing two sisters and
seriously injuring a third in Bongcheon-dong, Seoul last month.
said Chung was motivated by
"blind hatred of society"
particularly the wealthy. But he targeted anyone including disabled
people, from an 18-year-old high school girl to a 47-year-old housewife.
He allegedly killed five people and seriously injured eight others in
attacks over the last two years.
reportedly suffered from a sense of isolation and victimization since a
stint in prison for theft in 1995. Police said Chung broke into homes to
steal money and valuables and attempted to kill his victims by hitting
them with a blunt object.
who was described as a marathon fan, picked out houses to target during
all-night walks around the city. He was caught on Saturday morning in a
struggle with the owner of a house he broke into.
Suspected Serial Killer
April 25, 2006
in the recent serial murder cases has been caught. The suspect Chung,
37, is thought to have been involved in eight attacks, wounding eight
and killing five including three sisters found dead March 27 in
confessed to being responsible for the three serial killings that
happened in the southwestern part of Seoul in 2004, and the police are
now investigating into the case to confirm the offense.
Yeongdeungpo police station, which arrested Chung for murder yesterday,
likened him to the notoriously devilish murderer Yoo Young-chul for
brutally killing randomly selected people out of discontent with his own
to the police, Chung confessed to murdering females mostly living alone
in the southwestern part of Seoul, including Geumcheon-gu, Gwanak-gu,
Dongjak-gu and Yeongdeungpo-gu, after breaking into their houses since
On March 27 at around 4:30 a.m., Chung broke into the
second-floor house of Kim, 55, in Gwanak-gu where Kim’s three daughters
were sleeping. Chung hit the girls with a blunt instrument, severely
wounding one and killing the other two. He then set the blanket on fire
before running away. The injured girl died, too, a few days later.
18 last year, Chung broke into a house in Geumcheon-gu by the window and
struck Hwang, 47, and her 13-year-old son with a blunt weapon, stealing
money and other goods. Later on October 9, he entered a community center
for the disabled in Bongcheon-dong and severely injured two mentally-ill
entered another house in Yeongdeungpo-gu last Saturday at around 4:50
a.m. and was caught by the 26-year-old house owner, Kim.
police tracked Chung’s transit card to find out his routes, and got a
confession from him that he used the subway line No. 2 when moving to
very careful not to leave traces of him behind, trying to kill every
witness and burn clothes or blankets at the scenes of the crime. He even
scrapped newspaper articles reporting his killings to commit a “perfect
told the police that he wanted to kill every rich man because he was
angry with his inability to get a job and get married. Nevertheless, the
victims of his crime were all women and the disabled of ordinary
a year after graduating from high school, Chung committed a special
robbery and was sentenced to two and a half years in jail with a stay of
execution for four years. He also holds criminal records of serving
prison terms for charges of theft, nighttime breaking and entering, and
sexual assault. Upon release, he could not find a job and has been
living in poverty with his mother and siblings.
Seoul, not Incheon where he lives, to commit the crimes and avoided the
Gangnam area where there are many surveillance cameras.
police see it possible that Chung is also liable for the murder cases in
Incheon and other regions, and are jointly conducting investigations
with the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency.
Serial killer Chung Nam-gyu (37) returns to Yeongdeungpo
police station on April 24, 2006 after a re-enactment of one of his
Chung Nam-kyu leaves a police station to reconstruct his
crime at an on-the-spot inspection of the scene of a murder in Seoul in
this April, 2006 file photo. The convicted South Korean mass murderer
died on November 22, 2009 after hanging himself in his cell, where he
spent two years on death row in a country that still has the death
penalty but has not conducted an execution in 12 years. Chung was found
hanging in his cell on Saturday from a garbage bag and was rushed to
hospital where he died of a heart attack a day later, a Justice Ministry
official said. Suicide is suspected although no will has been found.
Picture taken April, 2006