Odaeyang Trading Co. is a trading company that was run by a 48-year-old woman named Park Soon Ja, who pretended to work for God and defrauded more than 200 people out of their money. But in August 1987, South Korea witnessed a gruesome crime in which 32 bodies were hanged from the ceiling of a factory, making for one of the creepiest cases ever. In the fourth episode, former detective Lee Sam-jae gives a different perspective on the entire case. When he discovered the bodies in Yongin, Lee noticed that their hands and legs were tied and their mouths were stuffed with absorbent cotton. Lee knew that there was no way these people had committed suicide together because there were signs that something violent had happened to the victims. But things got even more confusing when Park Soon Ja was also found dead. With each passing minute, the case became harder and harder to understand. As for Park Soon Ja, she was the one who had led the victims down this path, but for some reason, she ended up in the same situation. The officers noticed that Park Soon Ja had tried to fight back because her body had numerous marks which highlighted the presence of some other people.
How Did The Victims Die? Who Was Park Soon-Ja?
The next morning, the coroners had to examine the bodies and concluded that the victims had not hanged themselves. Rather, someone else had strangled them. In all these years, the forensic team had to follow a protocol for women. A more in-depth examination was conducted to determine if the victims had been physically abused. The forensic team determined that Soon-Ja had been abused. Officials found this too disturbing and could not determine who was the main perpetrator of this crime. Although so many people had been murdered, investigators could not find any information about this case. Journalist Lim Jeong Jae was assigned to report on the entire case of Odaeyang Co., which was also known as Five Oceans Co. He found out that some of the workers had been arrested for harassing their creditors. They had embezzled about 500 million won belonging to a gas station owner named Lee Sang-jae. When he tried to get his money back, Park Soon-Ja and her men attacked him and his wife.
When Park Soon-Ja was arrested and questioned about the robbery, she did not answer any questions. Suddenly, she lost consciousness, and Soon-Ja’s son decided to leave the police station immediately. Park Soon-Ja and her followers were never found again. She enjoyed a high reputation in society, as Soon-Ja was known for helping many people. In 1986, Soon-Ja became one of the most successful businesswomen. None of her employees complained about Soon-Ja, claiming that she provided them with a luxurious life. Gradually, however, people who had lost a lot of money came forward with their claims. In reality, Soon-Ja did not care about her creditors and had defrauded more than 200 people at once. At that time, the size of her debt was estimated to be about 10 million won, and this money had disappeared three days before the mass murder. In the end, Soon-Ja decided to flee because she could not pay back the money.
Five Oceans Of Fraud
Five Oceans never manufactured or sold products but instead purchased furnished products to give the appearance that the company was manufacturing them. Park Soon-Ja was always appreciated for taking special care of the young orphans she cared for. But in reality, these children were not orphans, but the children of the customers Park Soon-Ja had worked with. She promised to take care of these children and even set up a daycare center for them. Sometimes the employees had to hide their marital status, and they were also forced to live separately. The people who lived in her house were not allowed to communicate with each other and had to get permission before leaving the company. Soon-Ja had created a small community in her company and brainwashed people to follow her instructions. Everyone had to attend the repentance session, and people beat each other to avoid negative feelings. Park Soon-Ja wanted people to believe that she possessed supernatural powers. Soon-Ja claimed that she had suffered from diaphragmatic cancer, which was later cured by God.
Soon-Ja wanted people to believe that she possessed god-like powers that would help her rule the world. On August 28, 1987, police tried to locate Park Soon-Ja and her accomplices, but they were untraceable. Fortunately, all 49 children were found in an apartment and returned to their parents. Lim received an anonymous call from one of her supporters who told her about Park Soon-Ja’s hiding place in a factory. The entire factory was empty, and Lim could not find anyone until he noticed that someone was hiding in the factory. Lim had missed the fact that all 32 people were hiding at the same time.
What Happened At The Factory?
A worker named Kim Yeong-Hui shared his opinion about the whole case. According to him, the workers had spent four days in the attic, and during their entire stay, none of them had eaten anything. The officials couldn’t understand their behavior and concluded that they were manipulated by Park Soon-Ja and followed unethical rituals. However, officials knew that someone else was involved in the murders. Of all 32 victims, only one, Lee Gyeong-su, killed himself. Therefore, officials concluded that Park Soon-Ja had ordered Lee Gyeong-su to kill the others and that he’d then strangled himself. The investigation revealed that Park Soon-Ja was the first to die, and Lee Gyeong-su was the last. However, some officials disagreed with the findings and wanted to investigate the case further. Prosecutors didn’t conduct the investigation properly because the government wanted to close the case as soon as possible. In 1988, a special investigation committee was set up to re-investigate the case. The chairman of the committee, Kim Hyeon, knew that a third party was involved in the killings.
Kim found out that Lee Gyeong-su was indeed murdered by someone because the ligature marks on his neck clearly showed signs of pressure. The best thing about this board is Kim’s dedication to his work. He focused on all the little details that were necessary to solve the case. It was also clear that Lee Gyeong-su wouldn’t have been able to kill 30 people in one day. There was also a suspicion that Park Soon-Ja was trying to save herself. In addition, she suffered from hemorrhages, indicating a violent and aggressive murder. The committee also found that Odaeyang was engaged in various religious activities in addition to her actual business. In addition, the plywood from the factory was very weak; it couldn’t carry 32 people at once. The police officers overlooked a very important detail and didn’t notice that Odaeyang’s delivery truck had left the factory twice in one day. So there was a big chance that these people were killed outside the factory and then brought back to the factory.
Who Is The Real Killer?
When the bodies were removed from the ceiling, the officials found that they needed more than four people for the task, and still, it was difficult to transport the bodies. Fortunately, they discovered a piece of paper that contained an important piece of information. Someone had written all the details on the paper, which told them that a third party was involved. All the members who had lost their lives were important workers at Odaeyang. They were the workers who had devoted all their time to money laundering and other important tasks. The committee decided to focus more on the manager of Odaeyang, Roh Sun-ho. Many people protested in the streets because they believed that Roh Sun-ho could be an important link to solving the case. But Sun-ho was nowhere to be found, and in 1991, six people involved in the case came forward. Sun-ho had been murdered and buried by these individuals. A man named Lee Se-Yun admitted to be the main culprit in the case and publicly apologized to the families of the victims.
The six members were former members of the Salvation Sect. They began to look at everything from this sect’s point of view, and things became even clearer when officials found out that Samwoo Trading Company was also involved in this case. Yoo Byeong-un was the general manager of this company and was involved with various religious practices. It was clear that he was an important link in this case because Byeong-un was the leader of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Korea. Eventually, investigators concluded that Park Soon-Ja was working for Byeong-un and providing him with money. They pretended to be a commercial enterprise, but in reality, Odaeyang was a religious institution. Song Jae-hwa, Byeong-un’s personal assistant, was the main link between the two companies and was in charge of raising money for Byeong-un. In the end, she was arrested for blindly following Byeong-un’s instructions. All the embezzled money was to be used for the company’s operations. Although he denied all the accusations, officials found contracts and promissory notes with Soon-Ja and Byeong-un’s signatures.
Now it was time for the final conclusion: officials predicted that Soon-Ja and her workers were hiding in the factory to save themselves. She could no longer repay the debt because Byeong-un had taken all the money from her. The case was far from closed, and now the committee had to find out what Byeong-un had to do with the murders. There were several fillers in this murder case, and there was no doubt that several people had been involved in the murder.