What Netflix has been able to do successfully in the past couple of years is bringing to us engrossing cases and mysteries in the form of documentaries. The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea is one such appalling story of a man who became the news and a topic of discussion in South Korean society in the early 2000s. The series was directed by John Choi and Rob Sixsmith.
‘The Raincoat Killer’ Plot Summary
Around September 2003, murders were committed in Gugi Dong, Sinsa Dong, Samseong Dong, and other neighborhoods of Seoul, South Korea. What confused the Police officials the most was the fact that they were not able to ascertain whether these murders were committed for just robbery or there was some ulterior motive that the murderer had. There were many hues and cries, and police authorities did not want to use “serial” here. They knew that these murders had a similar pattern.
In most cases, no precious item from the house was stolen, which made it clear that it was not a robbery. Finally, when a similar shoe print was found in most of the crime scenes, the authorities were coerced to call it a case of Serial Murders. The officers were searching for a breakthrough when luckily enough, they found CCTV footage from a nearby building.
The CCTV Footage and a Motiveless Crime
Kwon Yong was the criminal profiler in the case, and Kim Hee Sook served as a forensic expert. With the evidence they had combined with the modus operandi of the murders, these experts realized that there might be a possibility that the killer was just doing it for fun or without any motive. A motiveless crime makes it even difficult for the investigators to get a lead. There are no strings attached. The killer is random in his selection, and there is no pattern in the victims he chooses. Generally, there is incitement inside a person due to the actions of a second person, and he ends up taking a grave step and henceforth committing a crime. There is a chain of events that are linked together.
In this case, the killer was targeting the rich and elderly of the area, but still, there was no mens-rea that was evident or visible. In the CCTV footage, a man in his late twenties was suspected to be the killer. His image was printed and distributed to everyone in the locality. There was no solid proof as the image was taken from his backside, so his face wasn’t visible. Still, based on the testimonies of the victim’s families, it was concluded that he was the main guy.
Yoo Young Chul – The Misfit Raincoat Killer
When the CCTV footage and the pictures were made public, the killings almost abruptly stopped. It helped somehow, but the authorities were now in a fix because the only way of catching a motiveless murderer like this is when he gets caught red-handed.
Soon it was noticed that many girls working in the red light areas were getting vanished. The pimps and the brokers never reported the cases because prostitution was illegal, and they did not want to get into unnecessary trouble. But it all came to light when one brothel owner, also a former police officer, reported the case. A trap was laid, and a guy named Yoo Young Chul was caught. He did not fit the profile of a killer.
Yoo Young Chul seemed like an educated and well-to-do man. He instantly made a confession that he had committed all the murders. The casualness in his tone and his nonchalant behavior created a lot of doubts in the detectives. Also, when taken to the crime scene, he took them to the wrong house. This led them to formulate a conjecture about this whole situation. They let their guard down and believed for a moment that this person might just be a lunatic who was wasting their time. Yoo Young Chul wanted just that.
‘The Raincoat Killer’ Ending Explained
Yoo Young Chul faked an epilepsy stroke. He told the officers to uncuff his hands as he was feeling claustrophobic. The detectives, until that point, had believed that he was not the guy they were looking for. Taking the opportunity, he escaped the facility, leaving a big blot on the reputation of the Police authorities.
Though not a lot of harm was done, and soon he was caught again. He had confessed to his crime, but still, no proof credited his confession. There needed to be some prima facie evidence that linked him to the murders. That’s when Kim Hee Sook did something that no one expected. She tried to extract fingerprints of the corpses, which is almost an impossible task to do. They also tried to get DNA samples from Yoo Young Chul’s hammer, which he had used for all his murders. The evidence was enough to convict him and hold him accountable for the murders.
But still, the Police department was held accountable for carelessness in the case, and Kang Dae Wong, who served as a Chief in the Mobile forces, was demoted. The State believed that if the Police had caught him in time, then many lives would have been saved today.
This was a new breed of killers that hadn’t been seen in the country before. Many people credited the rise of such motiveless murderers to the lack of employment and deplorable financial conditions of the individuals. The International Monetary Fund had stopped their funding, and many had lost their jobs because of that. Such acts are always reflective of the social conditions prevailing in the country.
But the case of Yoo Young Chul was like psychological warfare that hadn’t been seen before. It remains fresh in the memories of those who were unfortunately involved and had to witness the horrors.
The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea is a 2021 South Korean Crime docuseries directed by John Choi and Rob Sixsmith. The 3 episode documentary is streaming on Netflix.