Unsolved crimes in Korea 

South Korea is a 1st world country that’s generally safe, but it has its share of crimes. Unfortunately, some of these crimes in Korea have remained unsolved for years, leaving families in distress over what might have happened to their loved ones.

These 6 unsolved crimes in Korea shook the country, but the culprits were never caught. Read on to find out more about these cases, but only if you can handle gruesome details.  

1. The bizarre drowning of a medical student

unsolved crimes in korea - jungmin funeral
Image adapted from: 실화 On

The recent drowning of a medical student in the Han River made headlines in South Korea as people pored over the details of the case, trying to determine whether it was an accident or a murder.

On 30th April 2021, the body of Son Jung-min was found in the Han River after he went missing 6 days earlier. 

Initially, Jung-min’s death was thought to be an accident. On the night he went missing, he had been drinking with his friend. It was believed that Jung-min could have fallen into the river while drunk. However, the possibility of foul play emerged as the police investigated further.

unsolved crimes in korea - jung-min's friend
Image adapted from: 실화 On

An eyewitness revealed that Jung-min and his friend seemed intoxicated by alcohol. They were both asleep at first, then Jung-min’s friend woke up and tried to rouse Jung-min, to no avail.

The friend seemed restless and used his phone for a while. Based on his behaviour, the witness thought that the friend wanted to leave and was going to call the police to help Jung-min get home. However, he laid down next to Jung-min again.

At 3.30PM, Jung-min’s friend called his own father to tell him that he couldn’t wake Jung-min up. He then went back to sleep after the call.

At 4.30AM, the friend woke up and realised that Jung-min was gone. Thinking that Jung-min had gone home by himself, he left the park. CCTV captured Jung-min’s friend leaving the park by himself.

unsolved crimes in korea - parents of jung-min's friend
Jung-min’s friend and his parents at the Han River park.
Image adapted from: 실화 On

At approximately 5.20AM, the parents of Jung-min’s friend came back to the Han River park with their son. This was when things started to get bizarre. 

CCTV footage showed Jung-min’s friend and his parents searching for Jung-min. The friend still looked like he was drunk –  he couldn’t walk properly and even laid on the floor at one point.

After a while, the parents decided to inform Jung-min’s parents that their son was missing.

unsolved crimes in korea - jung-min's father
Image adapted from: 실화 On

In an interview, Jung-min’s father revealed that he had met Jung-min’s friend after being informed that his son was missing. The friend did not say anything to him, but merely greeted him and left.

The actions of Jung-min’s friend and his parents raised some questions about their possible involvement in Jung-min’s death. They became more suspicious after Jung-min’s father found out that the friend’s family had gotten rid of Jung-min’s shoes, which was a crucial piece of evidence. 

Also, the friend had Jung-min’s phone with him, while his own phone was missing. 

All of this information was revealed to the public, and the police faced increasing pressure to question Jung-min’s friend and his parents as suspects. 

On 10th May, the police finally brought Jung-min’s friend and his parents for questioning. However, details of the questioning are currently kept from the public. 

New leads were revealed on 19th May. The police found 7 fishermen who saw Jung-min walk into the river, making “ah, uh” sounds. Based on the autopsy results, the cause of death was drowning. Investigations are still ongoing.

You can watch the interview with Jung-min’s father here.  

2. The mysterious disappearance of a newlywed couple 

unsolved crimes in korea - seong-hee and min-geun
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Nobody would imagine that a happy, newlywed couple would disappear without a trace, but that was what happened to Choi Seong-hee and Jeon Min-geun. 

On 31st May 2016, Seong-hee’s family thought that it was strange that their daughter had not contacted them for 3 days. It was out of character for her to not do so. Worried, Seong-hee’s father called the police to check on the couple.

Min-geun and Seong-hee were living together in an apartment in Busan. When the police arrived, no one answered, so they had to enter forcefully. Only the couple’s dog was in the apartment, and it had defecated everywhere. It was clear that the apartment had been uninhabited for a while.

The couple’s phones and passports were missing from the apartment. However, there was no sign of struggle in the apartment.

unsolved crimes in korea - cctv footage
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The police started their investigation by checking the CCTVs around the apartment block. Seong-hee was last captured on CCTV at 11.16PM on 27th May 2016. Min-geun was last seen on CCTV at 3.30AM the next day, on 28th May.

unsolved crimes in korea - cctv locations
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

What’s most baffling is that there were 21 CCTV cameras in various locations around the apartment block, but none of them captured the couple leaving. 

Based on the layout of the apartment block, it is nearly impossible for the couple to have left without being caught on camera. There are several blind spots that the cameras can’t capture, but locating those blind spots is not an easy feat. 

unsolved crimes in korea - seong-hee's friend
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

There’s a possibility that the couple may have ran off intentionally, but there’s no evidence supporting this theory. Friends of Seong-hee claimed that she would never abandon her beloved dog, and that she usually drove when she needed to go out. However, both her dog and her car were left behind.

Min-geun, who ran a restaurant, sent a message to his employee telling him to close the restaurant for the day as something had cropped up. Min-geun’s employee said that it was odd as this had never happened before. 

The employee also received a call from Min-geun. Min-geun’s voice sounded different, and it’s unclear if the person on the other end of the line was an imposter.

unsolved crimes in korea - seong-hee's texts
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Seong-hee also sent a text message to her boss, informing her that she was quitting. However, her boss does not believe that it was Seong-hee who sent that message.

In an interview, Seong-hee’s boss pointed out the differences between the messages sent before and after Seong-hee’s disappearance. The most apparent difference was the use of the honorific “습니다” (seub-ni-da) in the text message sent after Seong-hee’s disappearance. Seong-hee usually ended her sentences with “요” (yo).

When the police tried to track the locations of the couple’s mobile phones, there was a strange discovery. On 2nd June 2016, Min-geun’s phone was traced to Busan, while Seong-hee’s phone was traced to Seoul. Seoul and Busan are far apart, so this was odd. The phones were never found.

unsolved crimes in korea - Ms Jang
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

After further investigation, the police realised that there was a 3rd party involved – a woman known as Ms Jang. 

unsolved crimes in korea - timeline
Timeline of events leading up to the couple’s disappearance.
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Ms Jang was Min-geun’s jealous ex-girlfriend, and she constantly threatened and harrassed the couple. Before the couple disappeared, Ms Jang was living in Norway. 

She had arrived in South Korea on 8th May, approximately 3 weeks before the couple was reported missing. Her husband arrived in South Korea about a week after, on 14th May.

Ms Jang’s movements in South Korea were suspicious. She paid for things in cash and stayed in saunas instead of hotels. One may think that she was trying to make herself harder to track. Her most suspicious move was when she went back to Norway with her husband on the day official investigations started – 7th June.

unsolved crimes in korea - Ms Jang in Norway
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

As Ms Jang was the police’s only lead, they decided to bring the case to Interpol in order to arrest Ms Jang in Norway. 

The police’s efforts to extradite Ms Jang back to South Korea failed. She filed a lawsuit and claimed that she had no reason to be extradited to South Korea. Unfortunately, Ms Jang won the case and remained in Norway.

Ms Jang’s refusal to return to South Korea may seem suspicious to some, but there hasn’t been any solid evidence proving that she was behind Seong-hee and Min-geun’s mysterious disappearance. 

Min-geun and Seong-hee have yet to be found. To learn more about the case, watch the documentary by 그것이 알고싶다.

3. The infamous “Mashimaro Killer”

unsolved crimes in korea - mashimaro
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Mashimaro, a cute cartoon character, is not something you’d associate with a murderer. However, it’s a constant reminder of a close shave with death for one woman. 

On 7th June 2005, a cleaner was clearing rubbish in a neighbourhood in Yangcheon when he came across a huge sack next to a rubbish bin.

unsolved crimes in korea - mashimaro killer
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Upon closer inspection, he saw a pale hand sticking out of the sack. The cleaner assumed that the hand belonged to a mannequin and tried to pick the sack up, but it was too heavy. Feeling that something was amiss, he touched the “mannequin” and realised that it was a human body.

In an interview, Park Seong-yeol, a homicide detective, revealed that the body was found with a black plastic bag tied over the head. There were bite marks on the woman’s chest. 2 menstrual pads and several tissues were found inside her body. It seemed like the victim was sexually assaulted, but no semen or DNA were found.

The victim was later identified as the 20-year-old Ms Kwon. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation.

unsolved crimes in korea - mashimaro killer
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

6 months later, on 11th November 2005, the police received a call about another body.

This time, the body was found outside a restaurant. The restaurant’s owner discovered a strange package outside his restaurant. Like the cleaner, he thought that the package seemed suspicious and called the police.

The victim was identified as Ms Lee. Similar to the previous victim, Ms Lee had a black plastic bag tied around her head, and the cause of death was also asphyxiation.

unsolved crimes in korea - yoo seung-ho
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

In an interview, law professor Yoo Seong-ho stated that there were many similarities between the 2 cases. The women were injured in the same places, and the cause of death was also the same.

Criminal psychologist Pyo Chang-won said that the method used to conceal the bodies was similar, and it wasn’t something that could be easily done.

unsolved crimes in korea - knot
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The type of knot used to tie the materials concealing the bodies could be a clue to the murderer’s identity. The knots seemed to be tied by someone who knew how to tie knots professionally, so the culprit could have been working in a job that involved packing boxes or other packages.

unsolved crimes in korea - knot
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Strangely, one end of the knot was cut short, making it easier to untie. Park Ji-sun, a social psychology professor, said that this could be a habit caused by the culprit’s profession.

Another similarity between the 2 cases was the victims’ last known location, Shinjeong Station. Both crimes also took place on a weekend.

On 31st May 2006, 6 months after the 2nd murder, the murderer struck again at Shinjeong Station. This time, the murderer’s plans failed.

That day, the victim was kidnapped and brought to a dark semi-basement. While her kidnapper went to the washroom, she made a dash for the door, which happened to be unlocked. 

She ran to the 2nd floor of the building and hid behind a shoe rack. There, she noticed a Mashimaro sticker on the shoe rack, as well as a flower pot on top of it. The flower pot seemed to be made by a child.

Based on the victim’s account, investigators realised that they should be looking for a murderer with an accomplice. The victim mentioned that she heard and saw 2 men.

unsolved crimes in korea - crime location
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

After hiding for a few hours, she ran away from the building and hid in an elementary school. In her panic, she did not remember where her kidnapper’s building was, and neither could she recall the path she took.

unsolved crimes in korea - string
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

However, she did remember seeing many ropes in the basement where she was held captive. This seemed to prove that the murderer was involved in a packing business, or was working in a packing job. 

When 그것이 알고싶다, an investigative documentary show in Korea, publicised the evidence and called for witnesses in 2015, a woman called in to say that she lived in the building and owned the shoe rack with the Mashimaro sticker.

unsolved crimes in korea - mashimaro sticker
An illustration of the victim’s hiding spot.
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

She said that she vividly remembers the Mashimaro sticker, as well as the flower pot that was placed on top of the shoe rack. Her child had made it in school, and she left it out to dry. This perfectly matched the description the victim gave. 

She also mentioned that the man living in the semi-basement was in his 30s, and lived alone. Sometimes, she would see another man with him.

The police are investigating the case with this piece of information. However, it still remains unsolved. If you are interested to know more about the “Mashimaro Killer”, you can watch the documentary by 그것이 알고싶다.

4. The murderer who painted his victim’s nails red

unsolved crimes in korea - body location
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

On 8th February 2004, a girl’s body was found in a pipe near a highway in Pocheon, and it was identified as a high schooler who went missing on 5th November 2003.

unsolved crimes in korea - victim's mother
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

At 6.18PM on 5th November 2003, Um Hyeon-ah called her mother to let her know that she was on the way home. Some time later, her mother started to worry as it was taking too long for Hyeon-ah to come home. She called Hyeon-ah at approximately 7PM, but Hyeon-ah’s phone was switched off.

Hyeon-ah never returned home.

unsolved crimes in korea - victim's belongings
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Hyeon-ah’s belongings were found first, approximately 8km away from where she had disappeared.

Belongings found include her sneakers, notebook, gloves, and bag. Her body was found curled up in a large pipe, with a box covering the opening of the pipe. 

The police noticed that her fingernails and toenails were painted red. However, Hyeon-ah did not have any nail polish on when she went missing. This led the police to think that the murderer painted her nails after kidnapping her.

unsolved crimes in korea - victim's notebook
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Police also realised that pages from her notebook and school worksheets were torn. However, only the parts of the pages with her name were missing. Criminal psychologist Pyo Chang-won explained that murderers often take such items as “trophies”.

unsolved crimes in korea - pyo chang-won
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

From the way the victim’s body was curled up in the pipe, the police concluded that her body must have been kept in a small enclosed space for some time before she was transferred to the pipe.

The police tried to trace the origin of the box that was covering the opening of the pipe, hoping to get some leads. However, rubbish was often disposed of near the highway by delivery drivers, and the police found themselves at a dead end.

There was no trace of DNA on the victim’s body.

unsolved crimes in korea - nail polish
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The police even tried to identify the type and brand of the nail polish used on the victim’s nails, but to no avail. 

unsolved crimes in korea - witness
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Later, 2 people stepped forward to assist in investigations, and this finally gave investigators an idea of what the murderer looked like.

A woman who was manning the cashier in a cosmetics shop recounted a strange incident. She remembered a young man who bought bright red nail polish, and it was memorable because it was uncommon to see men buying nail polish at the time.

The cashier described him as feminine-looking, with pale skin. He was of average height and behaved in a timid manner. Strangely, he addressed the cashier as “unnie”, which is a term usually used by women to address older women. 

unsolved crimes in korea - victim
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Another woman, who went by the nickname Han Ah-reum, revealed that 16 years ago, a strange man tried to kidnap her. It happened around the same time and in the same neighbourhood where Hyeon-ah went missing. She was pressured into getting in a man’s car and he did not allow her to alight. Somehow, she managed to escape. 

Since it happened 16 years ago, Ah-reum had to be hypnotised so that she could recall the incident in greater detail. 

Ah-reum’s description of the man matched the one that the cashier gave. He had feminine features and pale skin. She gave more details, such as the slender shape of his fingers, and even the car plate number. She also mentioned that the car seemed to have followed her from the nearby vehicle factory.

unsolved crimes in korea - murderer sketch
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

With the descriptions of the murderer, the police were able to obtain a rough sketch of what the man might have looked like. They also managed to find the suspect’s workplace, which was the vehicle factory that Ah-reum had pointed out during her hypnosis session.

unsolved crimes in korea - murderer sketch
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

A worker from the factory said that the drawing of the older-looking face in the police sketch resembled his colleague. 

He said that the suspect behaved strangely at work. Since they are involved in manual labour, their hands would get dirty all the time. But the suspect always had perfectly manicured nails and washed his hands constantly. The suspect also behaved in a “feminine manner” and would run away at the sight of bugs. 

Unfortunately, the investigation met a dead end because the suspect passed away before the police had the chance to question him.

Watch the documentary by 그것이 알고싶다  for more details on the case.

5. The murderer who removed his victim’s hands

unsolved crimes in korea - so-yun's body
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

On 8th March 2001, the body of a high school student was found in a building that was still under construction. 

The victim’s body and the area where she was discovered were free of signs of trauma and struggle. There was very little blood at the scene as well. The victim’s personal belongings were intact and no money was taken. 

The only things that were missing were her hands.

unsolved crimes in korea - so-yun
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The victim was identified as the 18-year-old So-yun. So-yun was working part-time at a clothing store on the night she was murdered. She was last seen in the store at 8.20PM.

unsolved crimes in korea - so-yun at the store
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

At 8.35PM, someone called the store, but nobody picked up. This was strange as So-yun should have been there to pick up the call. Therefore, the police believe that the crime must have taken place shortly after 8.20PM. Unfortunately, there was no CCTV footage nor eyewitnesses. 

unsolved crimes in korea - man who found the hands
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The next day, on 9th March, a man went to a nearby river to collect water for his car when he saw 2 white “objects” floating on the water.

He realised that the white “objects” were hands. Because they were so pale, he initially thought that the hands were from a doll or mannequin. However, he had a gut feeling that something was wrong and called the police. The hands were later confirmed to be human hands, and the DNA matched So-yun’s.

unsolved crimes in korea - pen evidence
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The police only had 2 pieces of evidence –  the axe that was found at the scene, stained with So-yun’s blood, and a pen that was given as a branded free gift during a car company’s promotion.

Police narrowed down the suspects to people who had access to the construction site as the public were unlikely to enter the site, especially at night.

unsolved crimes in korea - worker
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The police decided to question the construction worker, Mr Lee, who found So-yun’s body under odd circumstances. 

unsolved crimes in korea - scratch marks
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Mr Lee reported to work late that day, yet no one found So-yun’s body before Mr Lee did. The police found scratches on Mr Lee’s hand that looked like nail scratch marks, as if someone had clawed at his hand. 

unsolved crimes in korea - shoe soles
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The shoe print found on So-yun’s neck also loosely matched the pattern of the sole of Mr Lee’s shoes.

However, due to a lack of evidence, Mr Lee was never arrested. It was later revealed that the picture of Mr Lee’s hand was taken 1 week after the murder, which meant that the scratches could have been caused by something else. The shoe print found on So-yun’s neck was also slightly different compared to the sole of Mr Lee’s shoes. 

With no other leads, the case went cold.

unsolved crimes in korea - eyewitness
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

Many years later, when 그것이 알고싶다 released an episode about this case, an eyewitness came forward to speak to the production crew.

unsolved crimes in korea - eyewitness
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

At the time of the murder, she was only 10 years old. She was walking to her mother’s car when a strange man approached her to ask for directions to the nearest washroom. Suddenly, he grabbed her, and her screams attracted the attention of someone in a shop nearby. The man let go of her and she ran to her mother’s car.

Shortly after, she noticed that the same man had gone into one of the shops to talk to a woman. The woman left with the man, and after a while, the eyewitness said that she heard a scream.

Later, she saw the man walking back, holding a black plastic bag.

unsolved crimes in korea - hypnosis
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

As this had happened many years ago, the woman had to undergo hypnosis to find out if she could remember the man’s face. Unfortunately, she could not.

unsolved crimes in korea - list of workers
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The production crew of 그것이 알고싶다 checked the list of workers who were questioned by the police and realised that there was 1 person who was never questioned – Mr Kim.

Mr Kim was excused because of health issues, and he went to Busan on the day of the questioning. 

unsolved crimes in korea - Mr Kim's home
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

The production crew managed to find his address and made a surprise visit to his home. Mr Kim agreed to be interviewed.

unsolved crimes in korea - Mr Kim
Image adapted from: 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

When he was being interviewed, he said, “I cannot imagine a person taking and raping a girl.”

A production crew member found his statement strange and questioned why he thought that rape was the intention. To this, Mr Kim responded by saying that that’s usually the case when girls are kidnapped. 

However, So-yun was not raped. After the interview, the producers pointed out that Mr Kim started to shake nervously when he was questioned about his statement.

After 3 interviews with him, the producers decided that Mr Kim may not be the murderer after all. 

unsolved crimes in korea - new suspects
Image adapted from: SBS 뉴스

In 2018, SBS 뉴스 (SBS News) and 그것이 알고싶다 had a collaboration that yielded new suspects. 

Perhaps the police shouldn’t have narrowed their pool of suspects, and should have investigated So-yun’s friends more thoroughly.

unsolved crimes in korea - phone call timings
Image adapted from: SBS 뉴스

One of her friends, known only by the surname Hwang, had called her at around 8.30PM. This meant that Hwang was the last person who contacted her. 

At 8.35PM, when the phone in the shop rang, So-yun did not pick up the phone. Therefore, instead of the 15-minute window that was previously established, it was now reduced to 5 minutes. Something must have happened within these 5 minutes.

When investigations started, Hwang left the neighbourhood and the school, which was a suspicious move. Hwang had a crush on So-yun and was constantly pestering her to like him. If So-yun had repeatedly rejected him, there was a motive for Hwang to harm her. However, the police could not find any evidence pointing to him

unsolved crimes in korea - Park
Image adapted from: SBS 뉴스

Park, another one of So-yun’s friends, was also a suspect. He had written strange online posts regarding So-yun’s murder and did not go to school for a few days after So-yun’s death. 

Like Hwang, the police could not pin anything on Park despite his odd behaviour.

unsolved crimes in korea - Kim
Image adapted from: SBS 뉴스

The 3rd suspect was Kim, who was also So-yun’s friend. After news of her murder broke, Kim dropped out of school, changed his name, and completely went off the grid.

The truth behind So-yun’s murder has not come to light. When So-yun’s mother was interviewed in 그것이 알고싶다’s documentary, you could tell that she was still deeply affected by the loss of her child. Our hearts ache for her, and we hope that the truth will be revealed one day.

To learn more about this case, you can watch 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정 and SBS 뉴스.

6. The controversial case of the missing “frog boys”

unsolved crimes in korea - frog boys poster
Image adapted from: CNA Insider

On 26th March 1991, 5 families in South Korea had to go through the grief of losing their children. 

On that day, local elections were ongoing and it was a public holiday. The 5 families lived in a village near Daegu, and the children from these families headed outside to play. Their families were close and the kids played together often.

The 5 children were Cheol-won, Chan-in, Yeong-gyu, Ho-yeon, and Jong-sik. Woo Jong-woo, the father of Cheol-won, affectionately described the boys as “the 5 musketeers”.

Cheol-won was supposed to be at taekwondo class, but Jong-woo was informed that his son did show up. Jong-woo went to look for him, and after calling up the parents of the other 4 boys, he realised that all 5 boys were missing.

A friend informed the parents that he had seen the boys, who told him that they were going to find a lizard’s egg. The parents immediately knew that the boys must have gone up the mountain to do that.

The parents thought that one of the fierce dogs at the farm near the mountain must have escaped and harmed their children. Panicking, they searched the mountain but did not find the boys.

unsolved crimes in korea - police logo
Image adapted from: CNA Insider

News articles of the missing boys were published, but news of the local elections overshadowed this. The reporters and police officers assumed that the children were just staying out late or ran away from home.

What’s even more upsetting was the fact that there were people who tried to scam and prank the parents, knowing that they were vulnerable. An unknown caller claimed to have kidnapped the children and told one of the parents to bring a large sum of money to a location, but the caller did not show up.

unsolved crimes in korea - parents of the frog boys
Image adapted from: CNA Insider

After about a week, the media got wind of the missing boys case and it suddenly blew up. The 1st broadcast described the case as “Frog boys still missing after trying to catch frogs”. That was how the case got its name. 

After the case gained nationwide attention, the police began to investigate seriously. A large number of police officers and volunteers searched the mountain, but nothing came up.

Then, Cheol-won’s friend revealed that he had heard a gunshot and a scream on the night the boys vanished. 

unsolved crimes in korea - military
Image adapted from: CNA Insider

After hearing that, the parents wondered if their children’s disappearance could be linked to the military base nearby. The police dismissed the claim and did not investigate this further.

However, the public was convinced that the military was behind the boys’ disappearance. News reports also pointed to the military as the culprit. 

Despite the increasing pressure, the police never did investigate the military. This made some people believe that there was a cover-up.

unsolved crimes in korea - searching for the frog boys
Image adapted from: CNA Insider

On 26th September 2002, the skeletons of the missing boys were discovered near the village. Many items found with the skeletons pointed to foul play. Some of the boys’ clothes were tied together, and unused bullets were found.

Instead of waiting for forensic professionals to arrive, the police moved the skeletons by themselves. The police were not trained in forensics, so this damaged any evidence that could have potentially helped the investigation.

The parents filed a lawsuit against the police for negligence, but they lost the case.

unsolved crimes in korea - family of one of the missing boys
Image adapted from: CNA Insider

Till today, the murder of the “frog boys” remains a mystery. In 2015, the statute of limitations for 1st degree murder was removed in South Korea, and this gave the parents renewed hope of uncovering the truth behind their children’s deaths.

The case was so sensational that a movie called Come Back Frog Boys was released in 1992. A song about the “frog boys” was also released in 1993, sung by Park Sung-mi.   

Watch CNA Insider’s documentary to learn more about the case.

Unsolved crimes in Korea that shook the country

The pain and suffering that the families had to go through after hearing of their loved ones’ deaths must be indescribable. Not knowing the reason behind their murders must be torturous too. Even though most of these cases happened a long time ago, we hope that investigations will continue so that justice can be served, and that these families can find closure.

If you feel shaken by these crimes, check out these articles to calm your heart:

Cover image adapted from: 실화 On, 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정, 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정, and 그것이 알고싶다 공식계정

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