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Lee Ki Young – The Devil doesn’t take holidays

32-year-old man gets life sentence for double homicide

Last year in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Lee Ki-Young, aged 32, received a life imprisonment sentence for the killings of a taxi driver and his former girlfriend.

On the evening of December 20th, 2022, a young woman named Moon, along with her boyfriend whose name was Lee Ki-Young, sat at a table at a Korean barbecue restaurant in Northern Seoul, which is the capital city of South Korea. The couple didn’t even have any food yet, but Moon was not even looking at the menu; instead, she was excitedly checking her watch, waiting for her parents to arrive.

Lee Ki Young - The Devil doesn't take holidays
Lee Ki Young – The Devil doesn’t take holidays

This dinner was a very special occasion for Moon because she had been dating Lee Ki-Young for several months now, and she was totally in love with him. But she had not introduced him to her parents yet, and so Lee had surprised her with reservations to this restaurant tonight for four people. He had invited her parents to come to the dinner so they could all finally meet.

Restaurant in Seoul
Restaurant in Seoul

Moon looked across the table at Lee, and she smiled because she knew as soon as her parents saw this guy, they were going to be impressed.

Lee Ki-Young was a 32-year-old army veteran with lots of crazy stories from his time in the military. He was also exceptionally good-looking, very well educated, and he came from a family that was extremely successful and very wealthy. Lee’s grandfather owned the high-rise building that Lee was staying in.

Lee's Apartment Building
Lee’s Apartment Building

I mean, this family was very influential and powerful in South Korea. But Lee Ki-Young was not full of himself; he was very humble, kind, and polite. And he had a total soft spot for little animals; he had adopted a dog and three cats and adored them. I mean, this was a guy who was kind of like the total package that any parent would be psyched that their daughter was dating.

Lee Ki Young with his cat
Lee Ki Young with his cat

After Moon and Lee had been sitting at this table for about 15 minutes, Moon looked up, and she saw her parents finally coming in the door. And so Moon, she stood up and she waved to her parents and flagged them over to the table, and so they came over, they said hi to Lee.

And right away, Lee, he picked up the menu, and he ordered all these very expensive drinks and all the expensive meats on the menu. And then before long, Lee Ki-Young was chatting with Moon’s father about his military service, and then Lee was talking to Moon’s mother and showing her pictures of his dog and his three cats.

Not a Real Photo
Not a Real Photo

And Moon, she was just sitting back enjoying watching this because she could see from her parents’ facial expressions that they seemed to really like Lee too. And so this night was going as good as it could have.

Moon and Lee and Moon’s parents stayed at this restaurant for at least 2 hours, just enjoying each other’s company and throwing back a lot of drinks and eating expensive food.

And by the end of the night, when the parents got up to leave, they were like hugging Lee and slapping him on the back and telling him how great he was, and Lee was doing the same thing to the parents. It was like really, they had hit it off.

But after Moon’s parents were gone, Moon and Lee, they left the restaurant too, and they were walking across the street towards the parking garage where Lee had parked. And right away, Moon could tell Lee was actually pretty drunk.

She had not noticed it in the restaurant, but now she could see Lee was kind of stumbling a little bit. But Moon wasn’t upset about this. If anything, she just thought, ‘Wow, he was so composed talking to my parents in there despite obviously being drunk. He had just managed to mask it really, really well.’

But despite how impressed she was with her boyfriend, Moon didn’t want Lee to drive them home. It seemed like that would be really unsafe to do because, again, obviously, he is drunk.

And so when Lee and Moon made it to Lee’s car, Moon kind of gently told Lee, ‘Hey, why don’t we leave your car here and just call a taxi, and they can take us home safely.’ But when she said this, Lee took it as if Moon was criticizing him for being too drunk, and he felt really offended because in his mind, he had just put on this great date and made this great first impression on Moon’s parents, and here she is kind of nagging him.

And so Lee Ki-Young just kind of blew his lid, and the couple got in this horrible yelling fight in the parking garage, which ended with Lee telling Moon that their relationship was now over. And then Lee turned around and stormed off to hail a cab by himself. And after he was gone, Moon just stood there next to Lee’s car, being totally shocked at what had just happened.

And then, kind of in a daze, she went and hailed a cab herself and went home. And then she just laid in bed and cried until she went to sleep.

But Moon was not heartbroken for long because the next morning when Moon woke up, she heard a knock on the front door. And when she opened it up, there was a delivery guy with this huge beautiful bouquet of roses for Moon.

And so Moon took these roses and quickly found a card attached to the roses. She opened it up, and there was a letter from Lee saying, ‘You know, please accept these roses as a part of my apology. Last night didn’t go so well. I’m really sorry. Please come to dinner with me tonight.’

Moon was so relieved to get this apology letter that she called Lee right away and said, ‘You know what? I do forgive you. It’s all water under the bridge. You know, my parents, they loved you, and they have no idea about that fight we had.

So let’s just put it behind us and just continue being boyfriend and girlfriend.’ And at this point, it was Lee’s turn to be totally relieved because he didn’t know if Moon would want him back. But they were back together, and that night they went out for a fancy dinner together.

And then also, Lee Ki-Young had booked a very fancy hotel room that night for them to stay in. And this is really how their relationship went for the next couple of days. Basically, Lee would take Moon out shopping anywhere she wanted to go. They went to all the best restaurants and stayed in the best hotels.

To Moon, it was obvious that Lee was really just continuing to shower her with gifts and praise and all these fun things to still try to make up for that big fight they got into, even though Moon really had forgiven him.

And at some point after several days of being treated like a princess by Lee, Moon finally told Lee, ‘Stop buying me stuff. It’s fine. I totally forgive you. Everything is good.’ But Lee insisted that he be allowed to continue to spoil her.

After all, it was the Christmas season, and she deserved to be spoiled around Christmas. So in South Korea., Christmas is celebrated a bit differently than it is in Western countries like America. In South Korea, Christmas is a big holiday, but it’s really just a holiday for couples. It’s not really a family occasion. So in South Korea. on Christmas, lots of couples will go out on these fancy dates.

And so that’s kind of how they celebrate Christmas, whereas, you know, in Western countries like America, it’s all about family and waking up and getting presents from Santa Claus. So that’s the difference: Western is family-centric, and in South Korea., it’s very couple-centric. It’s kind of like Valentine’s Day in the winter.

So on Christmas Eve, Lee Ki-Young told Moon that he had a very special dinner planned for Christmas, and would Moon mind coming over to Lee’s apartment on Christmas morning to feed his cats and his dog because Lee was going to be out running errands in preparation for this big Christmas dinner. And of course, Moon said she would.

So at around 11:00 a.m. on Christmas Day, Moon hopped off the elevator inside of Lee’s apartment building and began walking down the hall towards his door, carrying the key to his door. But as Moon walked closer and closer to Lee’s door, she began smelling this really powerful smell.

It smelled like roses. And for a second, Moon thought to herself, ‘Oh my goodness, this whole thing was a setup. I’m not here to feed his pets. I’m here because he must have planned some really elaborate thing for Christmas Day right now, and probably it has to do with lots of roses inside of his apartment.’ And so Moon was really excited by the time she got out in front of Lee’s apartment door.

But before she used her key to open it up and just go in, she decided she would just call out for Lee because she figured at this point, he’s got to be in there. He knows I’m about to be surprised by this big thing. And so she calls out for Lee, but there’s no answer.

And so she knocks a couple of times to see if maybe she can get Lee to come to the door. But after knocking several times, there was no answer. So eventually, Moon used her key, she opened up the door, swung it open, and she stepped inside of Lee’s apartment expecting to be wowed by whatever Lee had planned.

But instead, when she looked around, she couldn’t really understand what she was even seeing. Lee Ki-Young was nowhere to be found, but there were roses all over the apartment. However, these were not new roses; these were like several days old.

Many of them were wilted, and the petals were starting to fall off, and the water that all these roses were sitting in was very dirty. But really, there were like vases of roses everywhere, on every surface. And right away, Moon started to feel really uneasy.

It was like very creepy to be in this dark apartment where no one’s inside of, with just these weird flowers everywhere. And so without going any further into the apartment, Moon once again yelled out for Lee in hopes that maybe he was here, but again, he didn’t come out of any of the rooms. So she knows she’s alone.

And so she called Lee on his phone to try to get an explanation for what she was looking at. But Lee didn’t answer his phone.

By this point, Lee’s three cats were circling around Moon’s legs because they were eager to be fed. And so Moon kind of stopped thinking about this strange flower situation and looked over at the cat’s bowls and saw there was no dry food; they had eaten all of their food.

And so Moon began walking over to the bowls when she realized Lee Ki-Young had not told her where he kept the cat food, and so she had no idea where it was. So Moon began opening all the kitchen cabinets, hoping to find this cat food somewhere, but she didn’t.

And so eventually, she left the kitchen and she walked down this hallway inside of the apartment, and she found there was a skinny closet in the hallway that looked like a place where you would store cleaning supplies and vacuums and that sort of thing.

So she reached down and tried to open it, but she was able to turn the doorknob, but there was something inside of this closet that was making it really hard to open, like it was stuck on something. Now again, Moon is kind of looking around this dark, dingy apartment that’s filled with all these wilted roses, and she’s feeling super uneasy.

But she thought, ‘You know, I just want to feed these cats and just get out of here.’ And so Moon just grabbed that door handle and yanked as hard as she could, and she managed to pop it open.

And for a second, Moon just stared at the inside of the closet, having no idea what she was even looking at. And then she started to scream.

It would turn out virtually everything Moon thought she knew about Lee, her boyfriend, was wrong. Five days earlier, after Moon and Lee had gotten into that horrible fight in the parking garage following the dinner with Moon’s parents, Lee had made it seem like he was storming off to go hail a cab and drive home on his own.

But in reality, after he stormed off, he waited for Moon to walk away and get a cab on her own, and then Lee just walked right back over to where he had parked his car in the parking garage. He got inside, turned it on, and began driving home.

Footage of Lee's Car
Footage of Lee’s Car

But on his drive home, he actually crashed into a taxi driver. Now neither Lee nor the taxi driver were harmed in this accident, and both cars were still drivable. But Lee actually had a really big problem with drinking and driving.

Nine years earlier, in 2013, when Lee was serving in the military, he was put in military prison for drunk driving. And then after he got out of the military, he was arrested two more times for drunk driving in 2018 and 2019.

And so, even though this accident with the taxi driver was very minor, Lee did not want to go to the police and report this accident because if officials got involved, they would see that Lee has this horrible history of drunk driving and he would get in way more trouble. And so, Lee convinced the taxi driver to just allow him to pay him privately for the damages in order to avoid getting officials involved.

However, the taxi driver, who was open to this, demanded that Lee Ki-Young pay him in cash. He didn’t want some sort of deferred payment plan; he wanted to be paid now. And so Lee said okay, ‘Well then let’s go to my apartment and I’ll just pay you there.’

Lee Ki Young
Lee Ki Young

However, when the taxi driver and Lee got to Lee’s apartment, they got in a fight over how much money Lee actually needed to pay the taxi driver for the damages. And eventually, Lee just kind of snapped and beat the taxi driver to death. And then stuffed his body inside of that cleaning closet in his apartment’s hallway. And so, that’s what Moon had seen when she had opened up the closet; she saw the corpse of the taxi driver.

And then after Lee had murdered the taxi driver, he stole the taxi driver’s credit cards and his cell phone. And Lee would use the taxi driver’s credit card to pay for all those lavish dinners and hotel stays and gifts over the next few days as Lee spoiled Moon for Christmas.

And also, during that time, Lee was using the taxi driver’s cell phone to send messages to the taxi driver’s family to convince them that he was still alive, even though nobody had seen him and had no idea what was going on with him.

Lee Ki-Young was ultimately arrested for two counts of murder, and he would quickly admit that he did kill the taxi driver and his ex-girlfriend. However, by this point, police had located the cell phone of a missing woman amongst Lee’s things, and so they became very suspicious that he might have had something to do with this third woman’s disappearance.

However, to this day, Lee has denied having anything to do with this missing woman, and they still have no idea what happened to her, and so that case is kind of on hold.

Despite how totally crazy this whole story sounds, the craziest part actually happened after Lee was arrested. Once Lee’s crimes were being talked about all over the news, Lee became totally famous in South Korea. because he was exceptionally good-looking.

Lee Ki Young
Lee Ki Young

On the news, they would play CCTV footage of Lee Ki-Young interacting with that Taxi Driver before he murdered him, and the only takeaway from lots of people in South Korea was, ‘Wow, this guy is so unbelievably attractive; he looks like an actor,’ not, ‘Here’s a guy who’s about to murder someone.’

Lee Ki Young
Lee Ki Young

In fact, Lee Ki-Young became so popular in South Korea. for being so beautiful that there became a real fear that Lee’s ex-girlfriend Moon would become a target in some way, that maybe Lee’s fans would blame her for putting their beloved Lee in prison and they might try to attack her.

However, the police in South Korea. did a really good job of masking Moon’s identity, and so to this day, we believe she is still safe. And also, for clarity, Moon is actually not her real name; that is a pseudonym that we used to protect her identity. In the end, Lee was sentenced to life in prison for those two murders

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