Lee Ki-young, 31, is suspect in murder of taxi driver in Gyeonggi

Home > National > Social Affairs

print dictionary print

Lee Ki-young, 31, is suspect in murder of taxi driver in Gyeonggi

Photo of Lee Ki-young used for his driver's license. [YONHAP]

Photo of Lee Ki-young used for his driver's license. [YONHAP]

Lee Ki-young, 31, is the suspect in the murder of a taxi driver in Gyeonggi, police disclosed Thursday.
The case has drawn considerable attention as the body of the taxi driver was hidden in a closet following the murder and discovered later by a third party looking for cat food.  
Until Thursday, the suspect had not been named. Police in Korea reveal the identity of suspects when they deem the disclosure is in the public's best interest and could help prevent similar crimes.
Lee was arrested Sunday for allegedly murdering a taxi driver on Dec. 20 after the pair got into a car accident at around 11 p.m. in Goyang, Gyeonggi.  
The suspected told the taxi driver, a 60-year-old man, that he would compensate him if he did not call the police but told him he must come to his home in Paju, Gyeonggi, to collect the money, the police said.  
According to the police, Lee said he and the driver got into an argument at Lee’s home, and he killed the taxi driver and then hid him in a closet.
His girlfriend found the body in the closet on Christmas Day and called the police.  
The taxi driver's son reported his father missing to the police earlier that day.
"My father has not been home for days, and I just texted him, but I think someone else, not my father, is texting me back," the son told the police in filing a report at 3:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. 
In those five days, Lee used the taxi driver's credit card to pay expenses, even taking out loans on the card totaling over 50 million won ($39,420), according to the police. 
The Uijeongbu District Court issued an arrest warrant for Lee on Wednesday, citing the possibility of the suspect destroying evidence or fleeing.  
The warrant was issued a day after police found evidence of another possible murder. On Tuesday, police found traces of blood in Lee's car. 
Under questioning, Lee confessed to the killing of an ex-girlfriend in August. 
He used to live with the woman, who was in her 50s, in the apartment in Paju, which she owned.  
They got into a fight about debts, Lee told police, and he allegedly killed her and dumped her body along a river bank in Paju.  
Police started a search of river banks in Paju on Wednesday, but the search was halted due to possible presence of land mines in the area, according to reports.  
At the time of the murders, Lee was jobless, according to press reports. His ex-girlfriend's apartment was reportedly under provisional seizure for some 100 million won in debts unpaid to three credit card companies.

Some experts questioned the reliability of Lee's testimonies to the police.

Lee Soo-jung, a  forensic psychologist, said his words shouldn't be taken at face value.

"There is no credibility in his statements," Lee said in an interview with CBS radio on Wednesday.

Lee also suggested the police to try to get in touch with people whose lives crossed with his.

"It is clear that he is cold-blooded," she said. "I think they should look into the well-being of all the people that may have met him. He seems to have a record of stealing someone else's identity, living with someone else's assets, and have a way of plundering."

Some residents living in the same apartment complex have told media that Lee may have attempted to cover up his murder of the taxi driver.

"I remember how the bathroom, connected with the fan system, used to smell so much of cigarette smoke since the suspect came to live in 2020," a resident told Money Today, a local media outlet, on Tuesday.

"But strangely, from Dec. 22 to 24, there was this intense smell of roses," the person said. "I wonder if he was trying to hide another distinct smell."


BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)