Winning the lottery doesn’t mean troubles are over

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Winning the lottery doesn’t mean troubles are over

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Winning the lottery doesn’t always turn out roses. Payouts are sometimes considered easy money and the winners don’t value what they won. The money’s often squandered and the results can turn out tragic.

According to the Gwangju Seobu Police Station, a 43-year-old man surnamed Kim, took his life around 2:30 p.m. on July 23 at a bathhouse in Seo District, central Gwangju. He locked the locker-room door and hung himself. It happened after his lunch break when no one was at the bathhouse.

The owner of the bathhouse said, “A customer complained that the door wasn’t opening so when I forcibly tried to open the door, I found Kim hanging inside.” No suicide note was found.

The police said Kim won the lottery five years ago. Receiving 1.8 billion won ($1.5 million), after deducting tax from 2.3 billion won, he dreamed of turning his life around. He closed his restaurant business in Gwangju and started new businesses, including one in adult entertainment. However, his business failed and he was a victim of a fraud.

Kim also bought stocks, but after the global economic collapse he lost his money in the stock market.

When his circumstances got worse, he borrowed money from his relatives and racked up debt of some tens of millions of won. Hardships led to family friction and as a result, he divorced his wife and was separated from his son and daughter. The police said he showed symptoms of depression recently.

A police official said, “To trace the accurate cause of the suicide, the family of the deceased is under investigation.”

Prize winners losing their money in business occurs occasionally, but committing suicide as a result is an exception.

A 42-year-old lottery winner was indicted without physical detention on Sunday for violence against his 42-year-old wife. According to the Incheon Namdong Police, he physically abused her on Wednesday around 6:30 a.m. at his residence in Namdong District after finding out that she used his prize money without his consent.

He won the first prize few months ago and received hundreds of millions of won. He then planned on divorcing his wife.

The police stated, “To start a new business, he withdrew 150 million won from the bank. But his wife invested in stocks without his permission so he punched and kicked her.”

According to the government’s lottery commission, an average of 6.6 people win every time there is a lottery and 320 to 330 participants win first prize every year. In 2011, the total ticket sales of 12 different lotteries was 3.08 trillion won. This year, by June, lottery ticket sales were at 1.6 trillion won.

In 2006, a 31-year-old prize winner from South Gyeongsang squandered his prize money of 1.4 billion won within 8 months. He spent his money on his brother’s business and adult entertainment. After spending all of his money, he robbed two jewelry shops and was sent to jail in 2007 and 2008.

An adjunct professor of behavioral economics at Hanseo University, Kim Jong-sun, said, “Prize winners have no experience in handling such a large sum of money so they eventually squander the prize money within a year.”



By. Jang Dae-suk, Kim Ye-jin [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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