“Endure it for the sake of your kids.” Over the years, Cho distanced himself from Lee, and they talked less frequently.Cho was working with an engineering company that made ship parts; Lee was working in his mother’s hotel business. It doesn’t happen.” Once Cho moved to the United States in 2004, he and Lee saw each other less frequently but remained friends.
“He knew exactly what I was talking about.” She asked again: “How many times did you shoot Mr. “[Lee] always wanted to win,” said Hong, who flew from Korea to testify for the defense at Cho’s trial. Sometimes he was manipulated by others very easily. He doesn’t know how to say no to other people.” He added that Lee was more of a leader, and that Cho would do whatever Lee said.
Lee was close to his mother, whom he called a “big mountain he could lean on,” according to Hong. at the end of 2010, he brought up the subject of suicide to his friend once again. Cho explained that the shame in Korean culture around suicide runs deep — despite the fact that South Korea consistently has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “So it’s kind of like, ‘My rich friend’s in town, and we’re going to live it up.’” Cho told police Lee talked about hiring a hitman. What if he paid a killer, and the man didn’t follow through? Finally, Lee asked Cho straight out: Will you kill me? Cho was drinking soju, a Korean vodka-like drink; Lee was sipping whiskey.
But when she died, about 10 years ago, Lee became despondent. In Seoul, the city government recently even created plans to raise the guardrails on Mapo Bridge, which had earned the nickname “suicide bridge” because of the large number of people throwing themselves to their deaths into the Han River. At some point, Lee brought up the ,000 he’d recently loaned Cho for a security deposit on a new apartment he and his family were moving into.
“He said he couldn’t live,” Cho explained in court. Still, if Lee killed himself, Cho told the court, it would bring shame to his family. While Lee was in town, the two men went out nightly — dinners, drinks, gambling. Despite his failing business, he was still doing better than Cho, who had a job making about an hour as a welder. He wanted collateral to make sure he was paid back. “[Lee] said jokingly, ‘Oh, I need my money back,’” Cho explained in court.
It was a “sin against his ancestors.” And Lee had a life insurance policy that suicide would nullify. “‘There is nothing free in the world,’” and asked Cho to draw up a contract.