Yoo Young-chul 유영철 is a Korean serial killer convicted of killing at least twenty-one victims between September 2003 and July 2004. Yoo Young-chul used a homemade hammer to bludgeon his victims. He is now sitting on death row after being convicted of murder, arson, and corpse abandonment.
In America, Yoo’s character is mostly known as a popular ‘creepy pasta’ story where a forum user claimed a family member had a near-death encounter with Yoo while wearing a yellow raincoat. Hence, why Yoo Young-chul gained the moniker of ‘The Yellow Raincoat Killer’.
Yoo Young-chul was born on April 18, 1970, and was raised in a poor village called Waha, north of Cheolla Province. The entire family was living in abject poverty. His father was a disabled war veteran that was granted a large bonus but gambled it away entirely.
Yoo Young-chul was unwanted even before he was born with his mother, desperate to get an abortion, but could not go through with it. The mother dropped Yoo and his three older siblings with his grandmother and walked away.
Other kids relentlessly bullied Yoo in school for being poor and unwanted. Despite of his traumatic childhood, Yoo was a talented student and excelled at art, guitar, painting, singing, dancing.
Weeks before his murder spree, Yoo read an article about a serial killer named Jeong Du-yeong, a Korean psychopath convicted of murdering 9 wealthy people in Busan from 1999 to 2000. Yoo was at first a copycat killer.
On September 24, 2003, Yoo kills his first two victims, Lee Deok-su, 72, and his wife Lee Eun-ok, 67. He used a homemade hammer to bludgeon the couple to death.
Yoo attempted to make his crimes seem more like a robbery-gone-wrong, but detectives noticed that there was no money, jewelry, or possessions stolen from the home.
The motivation for Yoo bludgeoning elderly rich people was bitterness about growing up poor. When Yoo was young, he was living in poverty and “felt discouraged due to family and economic environment and those feelings transformed into hostility against the rich.”
On October 9, 2003, Yoo broke into the home of Kang Eun-sun, 85, killing her, her daughter, and her grandson, who was also in the home.
Within eight months, Yoo would claim at least ten elderly victims using his homemade hammer.
Yoo Young-chul’s criminal activity didn’t start with murder, but with theft. His first arrest being in 1988 and then he was arrested again in 1991,1993, and 1998 for the same criminal activity.
Yoo began his criminal enterprises during his teenage years. He started by stealing cash, cameras, cars, and guitars. He has spent time in juvenile detention for his petty crimes.
There were at least fourteen convictions before he graduated to murder of robbery, rape, violence, and fraud. Yoo served seven years for these crimes.
In the year 2000, Yoo transitioned from theft to rape, was caught and convicted, and sentenced to three years and six months in prison. It was in prison where Yoo decided he wanted to become a serial murderer when he was released.
In 1992, Yoo Young-chul married a masseuse (massage therapist) named Ms Hwang, and they had one son together. However, when Yoo was imprisoned for raping a fifteen-year-old, Hwang divorced him.
While in prison, Yoo built up an intense bitterness for his wife and decided that he would also love to kill masseuses after being released.
At the beginning of March 2014, Yoo killed his first masseuse after making an appointment for her to come to his apartment. The police told the media,
“to hide the crimes, he cut up the masseuses’ bodies, stuffed them into plastic bags and buried them in several locations in the mountains around the city. He tore off the victims’ finger tips so there would be no prints to identify them.”
Yoo’s first victim was Kwon Jin-hee,23. Yoo bludgeoned Jin-hee with his homemade hammer and “chopped the body into pieces and dumped it on a deserted trail near Sogang University.”
The BBC reported Yoo had sex with his victims, and the “used axes, knives, and scissors to cut them into pieces.”
Yoo claimed to the police he desired to “punish dirty women”
After his arrest, Yoo Young-chul shocked news sources by self-confessing to the cannibalism of his victims. Yoo made this statement to the 3rd Criminal Division of Seoul District Public Prosecutor’s office. "Yoo testified that in order to cleanse his spirit, he ate some of the internal organs from the bodies of four of his victims.”
Yoo confessed he ate human flesh on four different occasions to “cleanse his soul” and to “cope with his epilepsy.”
Today, Yoo Young-chul awaits his death date at the Seoul Detention Center. He has been a troublesome inmate and is constantly being evicted from court sessions because of his constant interruptions.
South Korea has not carried out a death sentence since 1997, and has actually been desiring to abolish capital punishment outright. However, this thinking changed with Yoo’s murder spree. The Seoul Central District Court said, "Murders of 20 people are unprecedented in the nation and a very serious crime. The death penalty is inevitable for you in light of the enormous pains inflicted on the families concerned and the entire society."