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S Korean Police Raid Plastic Surgery, Identify Suspects in ‘Crypto Murder’ Case – Here’s the Latest

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 3 min read
A set of handcuffs rest on a representation of the flag of South Korea.
Source: EduardSkorov/Adobe

South Korean police have raided a plastic surgery clinic in connection with the suspected crypto-motivated kidnap and murder of a 48-year-old woman

The woman’s body was found late last month in a case that has dominated headlines in the country. 

Three men were captured on video apparently attacking the woman on the street in the wealthy Gangnam District of Seoul – before dragging her into a car. 

Police think the gang hoped to steal the woman’s “considerable” crypto holdings.

Officers think that the woman was drugged with a ketamine-based anesthetic. 

The national broadcaster KBS reported that officers had raided a plastic surgery clinic in connection with this possible link. 

Who Are the Suspects in ‘Crypto Murder’ Case?

Authorities have apprehended three individuals, recently identified as Lee Kyung-woo (36), Hwang Dae-han (36), and Yeon Ji-ho (30), in connection with the murder investigation. 

The suspects are now facing criminal charges, and the police have disclosed their photographs to the public.

Photos of three South Korean men suspected of murdering and kidnapping a woman in late March 2023.
Photos of the main suspects (from left to right): Lee Kyung-woo, Hwang Dae-han, and Yeon Ji-ho. (Source: Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency)

Lee’s relatives are believed to work at the clinic in question.

Fourth Journal reported that the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency spent several days deliberating whether it should make the suspects’ identities public. 

But the agency concluded that it was “in the public interest” that their identities be revealed.

However, media outlets have claimed they have evidence that the attackers may have been backed by a “couple” – at least one of whom is surnamed Yoo.

KBS reported that a third party had proposed to pay the group more than $30,000 to execute the crime. 

Authorities are currently probing potential connections between Lee and the Yoo couple, as well as exploring the possibility that the couple may have transferred funds to Lee.

Police say the Yoo couple deny involvement, adding that while Lee had “asked them for money,” they never handed any over to him. 

The Yoo couple were identified as “business people” who had invested in a coin or a project connected to the victim. 

But when they realized that their investment had gone bad, they reportedly engaged in “a legal dispute with the victim,” KBS explained. 

Lee was identified as a law firm staff member. He was formerly employed at a crypto-related company where the victim also used to work. 

The victim’s spouse is presently awaiting trial on allegations of cryptocurrency fraud.

Hwang has been recognized as an employee at a company specializing in alcohol sales.

Yeon, on the other hand, has been identified as currently unemployed.

Police think Lee invested in the same firm and may have been unable to recoup his funds. 

Hwang was identified as a former college classmate of Lee’s, Cheongju Bangsong reported. 

A ‘Brutal’ Crypto Crime? South Korea Stunned

A police spokesperson stated: 

“The seriousness and brutality of the crime have been acknowledged. The crime was prepared with meticulous detail several months ago and the victim was abducted and killed in a public place.”

A fourth suspect has also been arrested. 

It is thought that this man – whose identity has been withheld – was employed to follow the victim to learn her behavior patterns. 

This individual has denied taking part in the kidnap and the murder – but is likely to face charges as an accomplice.

In July last year, the bodies of a family who were thought to have made several “bad” crypto investments were found at sea – days after their car disappeared near the coast.