Jeong Sang-jin
Born ca. 1978
Penalty Sentenced to death
Attack information
Date October 20, 2008
8:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m. (KST)
Location(s) Nonhyeon-dong, Seoul, South Korea
Killed 5
Injured 7
Weapon(s) Sashimi knife

Jeong Sang-jin (Korean: 정상진) was a Korean rampage killer who killed five people and wounded seven others at a goshiwon in the Gangnam-gu ward of Seoul, South Korea on October 20, 2008. The 30-year-old first set fire to the building and then slashed several women with a sashimi knife. A sixth person died when trying to escape the flames by jumping out of a window.[1][2] Jeong was subsequently arrested and sentenced to death on May 12. 2009.[3]


Jeong, originally from Hapcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, moved to Seoul in 2002, where he scratched a living with part-time jobs as food delivery man or parking valet, though as of April 2008 he was unemployed and had to face severe financial difficulties.
According to unconfirmed reports he was convicted eight times, once for skipping an obligatory training for military reservists, for which he was fined of 1.5 million won.

During interrogations he said he was persecuted since his childhood days and attempted suicide twice during his time at middle school and occasionally suffered from severe headaches since then.[1][4][5][6]


Jeong was in severe financial distress and couldn't pay his rent and mobile phone fees for months prior to the rampage. After his arrest he stated that he didn't want to live anymore, as everyone looked down on him. It was said that he might have wanted to express his anger towards the rich and high authorities, but as they were difficult targets he lashed out against those who were at hand.

Further blame was also laid on the film A Bittersweet Life by Kim Ji-woon, which Jeong was said to like.[7][8][9]


At about 8:15 a.m., according to police, Jeong, who lived on the third floor of a four-story gosiwon, a low-cost lodging facility, poured gasoline on his bed and set it ablaze. Dressed all in black, wearing a headlamp, and hiding his face with a balaclava and goggles, he emerged from his smoke-filled room and, armed with a sashimi knife, two fruit-knives strapped to his legs, and a tear gas gun in a belt holster, began slashing and stabbing the residents of the building who were fleeing the fire.

Five people died of the wounds Jeong had inflicted on them with his knife, one woman died when she jumped out of a window in the fourth floor in an attempt to escape, and another seven were injured, four seriously, either by Jeong or the fire. Three of the dead and three of the injured were Chinese citizens. The fire raged in the building for about 30 minutes, before around 100 firefighters finally succeeded in taming the flames.

At 9:20 a.m., Jeong, initially thought to be another victim, was rescued by a fireman from a storage room in the fourth floor where he was hiding. When police noticed his peculiar behavior, Jeong was interrogated at the scene and he confessed to the crime. He was immediately arrested and brought to Gangnam Police Station, where he was charged with homicide and arson. [10][11][4][12][13][14][15]

Similar incidentsEdit

The incident sparked memories of the Daegu subway fire and the arson of the Namdaemun the same year, as well as the Akihabara massacre that happened just a few months earlier.[16]

External linksEdit


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