Actress Death Stokes Fears of Copycat SuicidesOctober 3, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in Stars | 1 Comment
Tags: Choi Jin Sil
Two women were found hanging from elastic bands less than 24 hours after the chilling death of South Korean top actress Choi Jin-sil, raising fears of possible copycat suicides, Yonhap News reported quoting police sources.
As the nation braced for a possible rash of copycat suicides, police reported that two women were found dead in circumstances similar to the actress’ death.
A 55-year-old woman, identified only by her family name Park, was found dead shortly after midnight hanging from an elastic band in the bathroom of her apartment in Haenam County, South Jeolla Province. Her family says the woman suffered from depression.
Park’s son told police that she “went into the bathroom to take a shower, but that after a while nothing was heard from inside.”
Another woman, identified by her family name Lee, was found dead after hanging herself with an elastic band in her multi-family house in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, at around 6 a.m. Friday morning.
A neighbor who lives downstairs reported to police after receiving a phone call from Lee, 30, giving her the password to her home an hour earlier.
No suicide notes have been found in both cases.
Choi Jin-sil, 40, a fixture of Korean prime-time television dramas spanning two decades, was found dead Thursday hanging from a shower stall with an elastic band tied around her neck in her home in southern Seoul.
Malicious rumors, depression and fallout from an ugly divorce in 2004 have been cited as factors that drove the actress to her death.
Experts fear the shock of Choi’s death will be particularly poignant, given the weight of her presence in Korea’s entertainment industry. With a cheerful demeanor and versatile talents, she charmed audiences with her roles in dramas, movies and commercials since her debut in 1988.
Choi’s life took a tumultuous turn when her marriage to pro baseball player Cho Sung-min in 2002 quickly unraveled two years later in 2004, ending in an ugly divorce. The actress had reportedly taken medication for depression since.
Min Seong-gil, a psychiatrist at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital, said Choi’s death may trigger what is known as the so-called Werther effect, named after the protagonist in the German playwright Goethe’s work, “The Sorrows of Young Werther.”