The Ahyon-dong Murder

This story originally appear in the Korea Observer in January 2015.

Police are calling it, “The Ahyon-dong murder.” A Korean man stabbed to death a Chinese woman identified by the surname Lee on the night of Jan. 12 on a narrow street in a residential part of Ahyon-dong, nearby the prestigious Ewha Woman’s University.

The 42-year old married woman was found bleeding profusely from multiple stab wounds by neighbors, who called the police at 11:51p.m. “Come quick! A woman is bleeding really bad!” a neighbor reportedly told a 119 emergency operator (South Korea’s emergency number is 119).

Lee was rushed to a nearby hospital, but could not be revived. She was pronounced dead at 12:33a.m.

Seoul Mapo Police apprehended a 31-year old Korean man identified by the surname Choi at his apartment on Jan. 16 at 5:00p.m., and brought him in for questioning. He was charged with the murder of Lee the next day, Jan. 17.

According to police, Lee and Choi went to a Noribang and continued the evening drinking together at Choi’s apartment in Ahyon-dong on the night in question.

Police are looking into the possibility that Lee was killed as she attempted to break up her love affair with the Korean male 11 years her junior. She was stabbed to death outside on the street about 30 meters from Choi’s apartment perhaps as she attempted flee.

Part of the murder was caught on CCTV located in a stairwell of a building near the murder scene.

Lee was a married woman, according to police. Lee married a Korean man identified by the surname Kim, 42. It was her second marriage. She met Kim 10 years ago in China. They lived together in Manwon-dong.

“There was no reason for (Lee) to be in Ahyondong that night. I always had the impression that my son (Kim) and (Lee) had a happy marriage. They had no special marital problems,” Lee’s mother-in-law told a reporter from Newsis.

Lee’s purse, cell phone and other belongings were found on her body at the scene, which led police to believe she was killed by an acquaintance. Police followed the trail to Choi by using Lee’s cell phone to contact her friends who informed them she had planned to meet Choi on the night in question.

When they caught up with Choi at his apartment on the Jan. 16, they found him with the bloodstained murder weapon and still wearing the clothes from that night. He was described by police as “resigned.” He went with police without incident.

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