The Beginning of The Suicide Links
2008 might have not been a great year for the South Korean entertainment industry as three high profile celebrities committed suicide that year. The first one was Ahn Jae-hwan, an actor who had piled up a huge amount of debt, followed by Choi Jin-sil, and then har brother Choi Jin-young. Ahn Jae-hwan himself left his newlywed wife, Jung Sung-hee. To commemorate his life, let’s find out more about Ahn Jae-hwan!
Ahn Jae-hwan’s Profile
Real Name/Hangul: Ahn Jae-hwan/안재환
Date and Place of Birth: June 8th, 1972, Goesan County, South Korea
Died: September 8th, 2008, Seoul, South Korea (at 36 years of age)
Nationality: South Korean
Years Active: 1995-2008
Ahn Jae-hwan’s Filmography
|2003||Show Show Show||Dong Ryong (leading role)|
|2000||The Record||Homeroom Teacher (supporting role)|
|2004||Beautiful Temptation||Choi Jae-hyuk (leading role)|
|2002||Honest Living||supporting role|
|2001||Cha Ki-bum||supporting role|
|2001||Outing||Choi Soo-min (supporting role)|
|2000||Mother and Sisters||Kim Tae-sung (supporting role)|
|2000||She’s The One||Hwang Jang-ho (leading role)|
|1999||You’re One of A Kind||Ki Joon (supporting role)|
|1997||Myth of a Hero||Kim Myung-woo (supporting role)|
|1997||Medical Brothers||supporting role|
|1995||LA Arirang||supporting role|
Ahn Jae-hwan’s Wife
The late Ahn Jae-hwan’s wife was Jung Sung-hee, an actress/comedian, who was the same age as him. It was such a tragedy for her to face her husband’s suicide since they were just married in November 2007. In the episode of Star Special Lecture Show that aired on July 10th, 2013, comedian Jung Sung-hee made an appearance and gave a meaningful message for the audience and viewers based on her tragic past.
Jung Sung-hee said, “I know that there are people who think I live like nothing happened. But that is not true at all. The world may forget [about my husband’s death], but the one person who will never forget him is me. However, I like to believe that the good memories I create today can be used like band-aids for my scar.” She added, “I think it would be too sad if I can’t enjoy life because I have tied myself to the past.”
Let’s hope that both Jung Sung-hee and the rest of the family left will be strong and happy to continue on with their lives.
Ahn Jae-hwan’s Death
In the morning of September 8th, 2008, Ahn Jae-hwan was found dead in his car. The body was found severely decomposed, indicating that he had died prior to September 8th; approximately weeks or even a month earlier. The case was ruled as suicide by asphyxiation, as charcoal briquettes were found inside the car and possibly contributed to his death. A suicide note was also found at the site where his dead body was found in which he expressed his love for his wife, Jung Sung-hee.
Netizens made various speculation about Ahn Jae-hwan’s suicide. According to a close friend of Jung Sung-hee, Ahn Jae-hwan failed business ventures of cosmetics brand, which he launched earlier that year via home shopping television, was probably part of the reason for his suicide. Further broadcasts were canceled, the sales dropped drastically, and some viewers (haters, especially) boycotted the show. This compilation of the contretemps made him a debt of 4 million USD.
As the debt kept increasing, the debtors came up daily at Ahn Jae-hwan’s apartment and threatened him that they will reveal his debt to the public and destroy Ahn Jae-hwan and Jung Sung-hee’s career in a flash if they didn’t return the money soon. Ahn Jae-hwan decided to break off all contact and went missing for a month. Jung Sung-hee didn’t report it to the police because she wanted to keep the debt issues from the public.
Many people were concerned that the debt will fall on Jung Sung-hee’s shoulder instead. According to the police statement, even though they held the wedding ceremony they didn’t register their marriage. So in legal terms, Jung Sung-hee is absolved from paying the debts.
Ahn Jae-hwan’s death was considered as the first, of a few suicides that followed and were thought to be linked. After his death, his best friend Choi Jin-sil was found dead by suicide due to harsh bullying on the internet, which accused her of being one of Ahn Jae-hwan’s killers contributing to his death by lending him money. However, she was found not guilty according to the police investigation. Choi Jin-sil’s brother Choi Jin-young committed suicide shortly after, followed by Choi Jin-sil’s ex-husband Jo Sung-min two years later.
The funeral was held on September 11th, 2008, at 8 AM in Seoul Gangnam Seong-mo hospital. The funeral was attended by a lot of celebrity friends and relatives, such as Lee Hye-young, Choi Jung-myung, Lee Soo-young, Geum Bo-ra, Shim Eun-jin, Kim Ga-young, and many more.