South Korea: How Jung Yoo-Jung Murdered A Stranger Out Of Curiosity

Jung Yoo-jung, a 23-year-old true crime enthusiast, confessed to brutally murdering a stranger "out of curiosity," sparking a fervent debate on the potential connection between crime fiction and copycat violence.

Oshi Saxena
New Update

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A recent case in South Korea has shocked the nation, shedding light on the potential connection between crime fiction consumption and real-life violence. The 23-year-old Jung Yoo-jung, a true crime aficionado, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a stranger, driven solely by her morbid curiosity. This incident raises critical questions about the impact of crime fiction on individuals and the societal responsibility to address such influences.


Jung Yoo-jung's fascination with crime shows and novels took a dark turn when she decided to act out her twisted fantasies.  A loner with a disturbing interest in crime, she used an online tutoring app to find her victim, underlining the dangers of blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

The Shocking Case of Jung Yoo-Jung

Posing as the mother of a high school student needing English lessons, she targeted a 26-year-old English teacher in Busan. 

After gaining entry into the victim's home, Jung mercilessly stabbed her over 100 times, displaying a frenzied brutality that persisted even after the victim's demise. Subsequently, she dismembered the woman's body and utilized a taxi to discard some remains in a remote parkland near a river north of Busan. The police apprehended Jung after a vigilant taxi driver reported a blood-soaked suitcase dumped in the woods. Police revealed her months-long online research on killing methods and body disposal. Despite this, her careless disregard for CCTV cameras at the tutor's home allowed for easy identification.

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Jung Yoo Jung with her victim’s dismembered body stuffed in a suitcase. Image credits : ReportWire



The court's verdict highlighted the fear that such crimes instil in society, emphasizing the need to understand the roots of such behaviours. The prosecution argued that Jung's actions were a result of prolonged exposure to crime content, and later Jung confessed that her murderous interest stemmed from crime shows and TV programs, sparking a broader conversation on the potential dangers of fiction manifesting into reality.

The Indian Parallels: Copycat Murders and Chilling Inspiration

The eerie trend of copycat crimes is not confined to South Korea alone. In India, a series of gruesome killings with chilling similarities has raised concerns about the influence of crime fiction. Cases involving victims being killed, dismembered, and their remains scattered echo a disturbing trend. The chilling details of the 2022 murder of 27-year-old Shraddha Walkar in New Delhi and the macabre actions of Aftab Poonawala, involving dismemberment and disposal of bodies, bear an uncanny resemblance to fictional narratives, blurring the line between imagination and reality. The accused claimed inspiration from a crime series, Dexter, which is a haunting reminder of the potential dark side of entertainment. involving dismemberment and disposal of bodies bear an uncanny resemblance to fictional narratives, blurring the line between imagination and reality.

A Glimpse into the World of Dexter

Drawing parallels with fiction, the infamous Dexter Morgan, a character from the television series "Dexter," adds another layer to the debate. A blood splatter analyst working with the police, Dexter moonlights as a vigilante, targeting those who have eluded justice. His methodical approach to killing, dismembering, and disposing of bodies is eerily reflected in real-life crimes.

Historical Precedents


The connection between crime fiction and real-life violence dates back to the silent film era. "London After Midnight," a lost film, was cited as a trigger for a murder in 1928. Similarly, the novel "The Collector" and its film adaptation have been found in the possession of multiple killers, linking fiction to heinous crimes. From murders mimicking scenes from lost films to kidnappings inspired by novels, the dark side of artistic expression comes into focus.

Fiction Breeding Reality

The influence of crime fiction extends beyond national borders. Characters like Dexter, a blood-splatter analyst who moonlights as a vigilante, and the malevolent Chucky, a sadistic doll, have been implicated in real-life atrocities.  From the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia to the tragic case of James Bulger in England, Chucky's influence is a chilling thread connecting disparate acts of violence. These instances raise critical questions about the responsibility of creators and the potential consequences of their creations.

The film Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone, has been a lightning rod for controversy. Linked to a series of copycat killings, the movie's portrayal of murderers as pop stars sparked debates on the responsibility of artists for real-world consequences. From the Columbine High School Massacre to Texas and Utah murders, the film's influence is undeniable.  There have been so many more killings related to the film that Natural Born Killers copycat cases have their own Wikipedia page.

Debunking the Illusion: Separating Fiction from Reality

As these instances of 'inspiration' from crime-based movies and TV series continue to surface, debates on the potential ill impacts of such content gain momentum. The proliferation of crime-related content on OTT platforms adds fuel to the discussion, raising questions about the responsibility of creators to influence behaviour.


Morbid Curiosity: A Psychological Phenomenon

Research suggests that the success of horror films, the popularity of true crime, and the prevalence of violence in the news tap into a common psychological trait—morbid curiosity.

"The success of horror films, popularity of true crime, and prevalence of violence in the news implies that morbid curiosity is a common psychological trait. However, research on morbid curiosity is largely absent from the psychological literature".

Coltan Scrivner, a behavioural scientist, notes the absence of extensive research on this curiosity, leaving a gap in understanding its implications.

In a world where the line between imagination and reality can blur, the power of storytelling carries immense weight. Let us tread carefully in this space, ensuring that the tales we weave do not become a dark script for real-life tragedies.

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