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Another suicide following house rental scam

April 17, 2023 - 17:03 By Choi Jeong-yoon
(Getty Image)

Another death linked to a growing house rental scam was reported Monday, pushing up the death toll to three. All the deaths are thought to be from suicide.

The so-called "construction king" fraud is a massive house rental scam that occurred in Incheon.

A woman in her 30s was found unconscious at around 2:12 a.m. at her house in Incheon, along with a suicide note. The woman died in transit to the hospital, Incheon Michuhol District Police Station said.

According to the police investigation, the woman had filed a report as a victim of the "construction king" scheme. Referred to as the "construction king" by local press, a 61-year-old man was arrested and charged last month for extorting about 12.5 billion won ($9.5 million) in rental deposits from 161 tenants of an apartment building he owned in Michuhol-gu, Incheon, between January and July 2022.

The man earned the nickname "construction king" because he had built some of the houses himself. The name also takes after the "villa king," who purchased 1,139 villas and officetels across the country beginning in 2020. He later died and his tenants were unable to reclaim their deposits.

Since 2009, the "construction king" has repeatedly bought land and built houses in other people's names, and then rebuilt them with financial loans and rental deposits. There are 2,708 confirmed houses owned by the defendant.

Prior to Monday's death, two other victims who forfeited their deposits were previously found dead.

A man in his 20s took his life three days earlier, following the death of another man in his 30s who was found with a suicide note saying he was disappointed with the government's actions.