Skip to comments.Samsung chairman's daughter found to have committed suicide
Posted on 11/25/2005 11:19:13 PM PST by HAL9000
SEOUL/NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- The youngest daughter of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of South Korea's largest conglomerate Samsung Group, took her own life last week, and did not die from a car accident as previously reported, a Samsung official confirmed Saturday.
"We missed an opportunity to explain it as the media broke the story first," the official said on condition of anonymity, noting that the company found out about her suicide after its own investigation.
Initially, the North American headquarters of Samsung Electronics Co. told the press on Monday that she had had a car accident and was "medically dead."
But Lee Yoon-hyung, 26, was actually found last Friday to have hanged herself in her residence near New York University where she was studying, according to an informed source. It was not immediately known whether she left a suicide note.
"As far as I know, Yoon-hyung, who was cheerful and lively in Korea, felt very lonely in the U.S. Her suicide is closely associated with her not getting used to studying alone abroad," the official said, asking to remain anonymous.
Unlike the chairman's other children, who tend to keep a low profile, Lee's third daughter received public and media attention on several occasions, such as when she opened a personal Web page in 2003.
But she suffered from severe depression during her stay in the U.S. after a plan to marry her Korean boyfriend was opposed by her parents, the source said. They broke up before she left for the U.S. in September.
"We inquired about whether there was any report presumed to be her car accident in New York and nearby New Jersey. But the answer was no," a South Korean official at the Korean Consulate General in New York said, asking to remain anonymous.
Samsung Chairman Lee has been staying in the United States since late September for medical examinations, but he and his wife did not attend her funeral. Only by a small number of immediate family members were on hand.
Lee's family members, including the chairman's only son Jay-yong, had gone to the hospital and confirmed her death.
The news is the latest in a series of unfortunate developments for the business group and its owning family.
The claimed purpose of the Samsung chairman's U.S. sojourn was to receive a checkup at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where he underwent surgery for lung cancer in 2000.
But observers in South Korea believe Lee may have in fact fled the country since he was suspected of corruption and bribery in connection with the presidential election and business deals.
The 64-year-old is suspected of ordering subordinates to funnel large sums of illegal donations to presidential candidates in 1997, and of ordering a hostile takeover of then-troubled Kia Motors Corp. in violation of the Fair Trade Act.
His son Jay-yong and other children also face prosecution investigation following an October ruling by a Seoul district court that found two Samsung executives guilty of arranging an illicit transfer of the chairman's wealth to his children.
The Samsung chairman reportedly left the Houston medical center in late September, but his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Could the daughter have done this out of shame for the family?
They didn't attend her funeral?
That's really sad..
Or was she taken out by his business partners as a warning? Still sad... =(
This could open a big can of worms. Prayers for her soul; I hope her old man rots when its his turn.
Sad story. RIP Lee Yoon-hyung.
oh my God ! what a loss....beautiful women like this should never find themselves lonely
"...beautiful women like this should never find themselves lonely..."
Except when you're 27 and can't marry the one you love. Very tragic.
and NYU sure has a lot of suicides!
Love vs. Money
Samsung Chairman's Daughter Kills Herself
Parents Object to Her Marriage to "Average" Man
The cause of death of the third daughter of Samsung Business Group Chairman Lee Kun-Hee turned out to be a suicide, according to a local report.
Yonhap news agency reported on Nov. 26, 2005 that Lee Yoon-Hyung, the youngest daughter of South Korea's multi-billionaire businessman, was not killed in a traffic accident but committed suicide by hanging herself.
The report said that the 26-year-old student of New York University (NYU) was found dead in her apartment near her university in Manhattan, New York during the night of Nov. 18, 2005. She hanged herself to death.
Lee, a student of art management at NYU since September this year, had been agonizing over her marriage. Her parents strongly objected to her plan to marry her boyfriend, according to the report.
She had reportedly been suffering from depression since she was faced with her parents' wanton objection to her plan to marry her "layman" boyfriend.
When he was confronted with the high wall of reality, her boyfriend suggested "splitting," according to some local reports.
Lee was one of the five wealthiest women in South Korea along with her mother and two sisters. Lee's fortunes were estimated at 200 billion won (some 192 million US dollars).
Initially, Samsung announced that Lee was pronounced "medically dead" on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005 after she was involved in a "fatal" traffic accident in New York the previous night.
But Samsung stopped short of explaining details including the accident area, witnesses, and other damages or casualties.
Since the announcement there have been many speculations over the cause of her death.
Lee's body was cremated in a Buddhist funeral in New York on Nov. 22, 2005 local time. Her funeral was attended by only her immediate family members including her older brother Jae-Yong, her oldest sister Bu-Jin, and her second oldest sister Seo-Hyun.
Lee's parents Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-Hee and his wife Hong Ra-Hee flew to New York City but did not attend her funeral. They are still staying in the city.
According to Korean customs, parents do not attend the funeral of their sons or daughters when they die unmarried.
Boyfriend found not hung
" if you can't be with the one you love , love the one you are with"
Kid come to NYC thinking it's going to be like a very long episode of Friends. If they were the smartest/prettiest/ most popular kid in their high school, they very quickly find out that any good NYC university is filled to the brim with the smartest, prettiest etc.
"and NYU sure has a lot of suicides!"
Yes, they really have been having a lot of those.
Tragic for this poor young woman. May God have mercy on her soul.
Hell, elope. All they can do is kill you.
The government tried to use Samsung's connection and money to shore up its viability, and Samsung wanted the repreieve from government attack on group's founding family. The government may have also wanted Samsung to spearhead N. Korean venture, which is one of the centerpiece to the current government. If that was the case, Samsung did not really bite.
After about 9 months, government's honeymoon with Samsung is abruptly over. Now that growing wiretapping scandal implicates Mr. Hong as a principal bagman and the government effort to paint itself as pragmatic moderate is paying no dividend, it went back to its anti-big business leftist root. The government is demanding Mr. Lee Keun-hee to testify in person.
What the government is doing is not just to go after Samsung. It simultaneously going after the former president Kim Dae-jung under whose tenure much of rampant wiretapping had occurred. Apparently, Roh want to completely control Kim Dae-jung and Kim's loyal support base by turning heat on Kim.
Any way, there is a financial legislation quite unfavorable to Samsung pending in S. Korean legislature, illegal political donation scandal, and latent anxiety of hostile take-over by foreign entities. And now this tragic family event. This must be the worst year for Samsung's owner.