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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Murder-suicide - Lee was one of Korea's most glamorous baseball players
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: February 18, 2008
Date of birth: July 17, 1967
Victims profile: Kim Yeon-suk, 46, and her three daughters, Jeong Seon-ah, 18, Jin-ah, 17 and Hae-ah, 11
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: South Korea
Status: Committed suicide by jumping into the Han River the same day

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Lee Ho-seong (July 17, 1967 – March 10, 2008) was a South Korean baseball player. During his career he played for Haitai Tigers. He debuted in 1990 and stayed with the tigers for his 12 year career until retiring in 2001. He batted .272 and had 102 home runs in his career. Ho-seong was team captain in 1999 and 2000 and became president of the league's players union in 2001.


Police found Ho-seong in the Han River on March 10, 2008. One day later they found the bodies of a 46 year old woman and her three children. Police understand that Ho-seong and the woman were in a relationship. Ho-seong apparently borrowed the equivalent of $250,000. Lee was unable to pay the money back, and police speculated that this was the motive of the killings.

Police quoted their details about the case were still sketchy because there was no suicide note, but Lee was seen on security video removing four large black duffel bags from the woman's apartment late one evening. He was also put at the scene by a witness who saw Lee in the parking lot about the time the four women went missing.


Former Korea Standout Involved In Murder-Suicide

By Thomas St. John - Baseball America

March 20, 2008

SEOUL, South Korea - A former baseball standout and one-time head of the Korea Professional Baseball Player Association has shocked the country with his involvement in a quadruple murder-suicide.

Police said that Lee Ho-seong killed a 46-year-old woman identified as Kim Yeon-suk as well as her three daughters and buried them in a pit in a cemetery south of Seoul. Investigators believe Lee then committed suicide by jumping into the Han River, where his body was discovered on March 10. The woman and her children had been missing since Feb. 21, prompting a nationwide search, and their bodies were discovered March 11.

The crime has left many in Korea to wonder what would drive a well liked and popular star to do such a thing. Lee was one of Korea's most glamorous baseball players and spent his entire pro career with the former Haitai (now Kia) Tigers, which ruled Korean pro baseball in the 1990s. After retiring in 2001, Lee had several businesses that eventually failed, and the constant failures put him into financial hardship.

According to Korean media reports, Lee met Kim, a single mother with three teenage daughters, and they planned to get married. Lee borrowed money from her, and Kim eventually demanded the money to be repaid. Authorities said he may have owed her the equivalent of $250,000.

Lee was unable to pay the money back, and police speculated that this was the catalyst that set Lee off. Other details about the case were still sketchy because there was no suicide note, but Lee was seen on security video removing four large black duffel bags from the woman's apartment late one evening. He was also put at the scene by a witness who saw Lee in the parking lot about the time the four women went missing.

Police eventually released Lee's name and offered a reward for information on his whereabouts. The next day, he became front-page news, and investigators believe about 3 a.m. the following morning, Lee jumped off a bridge into the Han River which runs through Seoul.

Police confirmed Lee's identity through his fingerprints and found the bodies of the four women soon after his death in a cemetery in Lee's hometown of Kwangju. A break in the case came when cemetery employees came forward saying Lee had asked them to dig a large pit next to his father's grave, so that he could build a memorial.

Lee helped his team to four Korea Series titles in the 1990s during his 12-year career. He debuted in 1990, batting .304 to rank seventh in the Korea Baseball Organization. He batted .272 with 102 home runs for his career, and won two Gold Gloves as an outfielder as well. Lee was team captain in 1999 and 2000 and became president of the league's players union in 2001.


Accused Murderer, Former Baseballer Commits Suicide

March 11th, 2008

Just yesterday Lee Ho-seong, a former ballplayer for the former Haitai Tigers, was publicly identified as the prime suspect in the disappearance of a woman he had been dating and her daughters. Today the bodies of all involved were discovered.

The four-person family from Mapo who disappeared were discovered in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do, having been murdered and buried. The lead suspect, former pro baseball player Lee Ho-seong (41), was found dead in the Han River that afternoon, presumably a suicide.

At approximately 11 o’clock at night police found 46-year old Kim and her children buried in the ground near a church in her hometown of Hwasun, close to the same graveyard in which her father is buried.

Police were alerted by a person named Yu, a neighbor of Mr. Lee’s who was asked by him last night to tell the police where they could find the bodies.

Police believe that at 5 am on February 19th Kim’s eldest daughter, who was 21, placed a phone call in that area and that after murdering her and her family Mr. Lee buried them.

At approximately 2:30 yesterday afternoon Mr. Lee’s body was discovered.

Kim (39), who discovered the body, said, “I was out in my boat on the river when a corpse floated up and I called 119.”

Fingerprints confirmed that the body was Mr. Lee’s. He was wearing a jacket and a gold ring, and his body did not suffer external injury. From the amount of rigor mortis present police believe he took his life at about 3 am.

A source at the police said, “it looks like Mr. Lee was under a lot of pressure after his name and face were released across the country as the prime suspect and he jumped to his death.”

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of Mr. Lee’s death.

Mr. Lee and Ms. Kim had begun dating two years ago. After retiring from professional baseball in 2001 Mr. Lee worked as an MC and in a horse racing track but fell into debt before being suspected of the crime.

On February 18th, the day that Ms. Kim and her three daughters disappeared, Mr. Lee was captured on security cameras leaving their apartment building carrying six large bags. 22 days later on March 10th police announced to the country that he was the prime suspect.


Lee-Ho-seong, Mass Murderer

Lee-Ho-seong was born in South Korea in 1967. He attended and played baseball at Gwangju Jeil High School and Yonsei University. He also competed in numerous international competitions and matches.

After college in 1990 Lee, an outfielder, joined the Haitai (now Kia) Tigers of the Korean Baseball League. The team was based in Lee’s hometown of Gwangju in southwestern South Korea.

As a rookie, Lee batted .304 to finish seventh in the league. In 1991 he posted career highs with 21 home runs, 84 RBI and 98 runs.

Haitai became the top Korean team of the 1990s, winning the championship in 1991, 1993 and 1996-97. During the team’s latter two championships, Lee was the club’s clanup hitter. He was named captain in 1999, a post he held until accepting the presidency of the league’s players’ union, the Korean Professional Baseball Association in 2001. Lee retired from baseball after the 2001 season.

After baseball

After retiring from baseball, Lee started a wedding business in Gwangju which went bankrupt in 2005. Two years later, he was arrested for investment fraud involving a real estate venture. He spent two months in jail before being released on bail. The resulting upheaval fueled a separation from his wife and son.

Lee then tried to get a gambling business off the ground, a virtual horse racing arcade. He was also known to frequent the race track, probably racking up extensive debts.

In 2006 Lee became involved with Kim Yeon-suk, a 44-year-old sushi restaurant owner. She had a husband and three girls: Jeong Seon-ah, 18, Jin-ah, 17 and Hae-ah, 11.


Lee became heavily indebted due to his business and legal troubles and probable gambling losses. He began to borrow money from Kim, perhaps as much as $250,000. Lee, Kim and family decided to take a vacation in the middle of February 2008. Lee somehow talked Kim into loaning him $177,000 in the middle of the month. She may have been pressing for its return, because on the night of February 18 Lee strangled Kim and her two younger daughters to death in their Seoul apartment. He also bashed in the oldest daughter’s skull.

Lee then packed them into large, black travel suitcases and buried them on the 19th. He gave some laborers $200 to dig a pit next to his father’s cemetery tomb on the pretext that he was relocating a headstone. Lee then put the women into the pit and covered them.

The family was not reported missing until March 3 because Lee had orchestrated their murders at the onset of the family vacation.


Police found witnesses stating that Lee was seen on the night of February 18 hauling large suitcases out of the apartment. They also located a video tape of him doing the same. Late on March 9, police released Lee’s name and photo to the press and offered a reward of $3,108 for information leading to his arrest.

In the afternoon of March 10 Lee, in a dark suit and no apparent injuries, swam into Han River and drowned, committing suicide. He had previously sent a letter to his brother asking him to care for his son and to the head of the baseball federation apologizing.

That day after the news circulated, a man came forward after realizing that it was Lee who asked his coworkers to build the pit in the cemetery. The bodies were quickly found.

The police then opened two more investigations:

1) Into the death of a man named Cho, a former business partner of Lee’s. Cho, last seen with Lee, had disappeared in August 2005 but at the time it was suspected that he merely went into hiding after serious financial losses.

2) Into the death of Kim’s husband in February 2007 which had been previously ruled a suicide



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