Controversy surrounding death of Korean businessman Kim Sung Nyeon in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 08 July 2021:

Security sources in Freetown have told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that there is strong suspicion the Korean businessman – Mr Kim Sung Nyeon whose body was found in his house a week ago had been murdered, and a fake suicide note placed by his bedside.

According to the alleged suicide note, Mr Nyeon is said to have bitterly complained about losing millions of dollars that he had invested in his fishing business in Sierra Leone, after the ministry of fisheries seized his trawlers for violation of the country’s fishing regulations.

The ministry of fisheries has not responded to the allegations of corruption and heavy-handedness mentioned in the alleged suicide note believed to have been written by Mr Nyeon. But a statement released by the government yesterday, says that it is conducting investigations.

Lawyers acting for Mr Nyeon, nor the Korean government have issued any statement on this tragic loss of life.

But sources in Freetown allege that the decision to seize Mr Nyeon’s trawlers and cancel his fishing agreement was motivated by greed, corruption and abuse of power by some government officials who had received heavy bribes from a Chinese company who wanted to take over Mr Nyeon’s fishing company.

Security sources are alleging that Mr Nyeon may have been murdered, after losing millions of dollars in lawsuit and threatening to expose those officials whom he had bribed to get his trawlers and fishing agreement back without success.

Questions are being asked as to why a Korean businessman will choose to commit suicide in Sierra Leone after losing millions of dollars he had invested in the country, rather than simply fly back to his loved ones in Korea and take his life there. Mr Nyeon is believed to be in his 50s or slightly younger.

The content of the alleged suicide note suggesting that Mr Nyeon took his own life so as to send a strong message to the government of Sierra Leone about corruption in high places, simply does not make sense either.

Will the truth about Mr Nyeon’s death ever come out? This is a question put to a renowned senior lawyer in Freetown, who chuckled and said: “So much now rests on the veracity of that so-called suicide note. Personally, I think it is a fake suicide note written so as to cover up something more sinister. But sadly in Sierra Leone, politics will get in the way of justice, and we will never know the truth about the death of Mr Nyeon.”

Whiles the truth about the death of Mr Nyeon may never be known, what is worryingly certain is that the meteorical increase in the number of dodgy, criminal foreign investors flocking to Sierra Leone for rich pickings, and with a government all too willing to set aside due diligence and good governance in a haste to sign investment contracts and agreements, innocent Sierra Leoneans may soon be caught up in dangerous gang-wars among triads and gangsters.

The death of Mr Nyeon, whether suicidal or not, must be a wakeup call for all politicians, religious leaders, and civil society to take the moral high ground and say loudly to the government: Not in our backyard.

This is the alleged suicide note claimed to have been written by Mr Nyeon:


  1. Years ago, probably in the waning days of the Stevens era, a European businessman was shot and killed at Spur Loop/Spur Road. He had been doing extensive business with the government. His death was never fully investigated by the government. The message to single foreign investors is, it’s perilous to do business with the Sierra Leone government involving thousands or millions of dollars.

    Whatever the circumstances or suspicions are on the death of the Korean businessman ,the image of Sierra Leone stands tarnished to add to our other blemishes, both economic and social. All foreign missions in the country must have informed their respective governments about the awful incident. We are skipping from one disaster to the other as if cursed. Maada Bio should not use the death of the Korean as an excuse to start globe-trotting again looking for investors. He should put his house in order first.

  2. This is what you get when you let a shoe shine military hoodlum,imposters,and questionable individuals out to enrich themselves handle the affairs of a poor and struggling nation like our own. This President has failed miserably The shining sceptre of power a thing of great value that he could have used as a blessing to transform the lives of our hungry millions has strangely become a disgusting dead albatross around his neck,an eerie,perplexing, unsettling curse that rotates and spirals from one place to another snuffing out innocent lives. Murder is the case they have again given their empty, unthinking, unfeeling SLPP heads. Murder was also the case they gave themselves inside the Pademba road prisons, in Makeni, Pujehun and countless other places in Sierra Leone,my only precious home; Their hands have been stained with innocent blood.

    Only men with hearts as cold as ice,without the fear of Omnipotent God will connive and rob a stranger from a faraway land and kill him for what rightfully belongs to him. Answer – where did these kinds of people come from? Were they really born in our little welcoming country? But Great Sayedna since day one the notorious SLPP have been known to kill and wash themselves in ritualistic blood for the purposes of gain. Their huge appetites for sensual pleasures and inordinate affection for money,power and women are the driving forces behind their demonic ruthless, callous impulses. Yup,we know that they are as cruel as starving wolves,my friend but for a man to discreetly kill another and have the audacity to create a scenario as if it was an act of Suicide is the devils handiwork; its a page ripped right out of the blood stained manuals of demonic forces of evil.

    Oh! How I wish Mr Nyeon would just wake up from his deep slumber just for one minute, point out his killers and then go back to sleep so that an angry mob boiling with rage would have the chance to strip them butt naked and lynch them in broad daylight in the eyes of their corrupt SLPP cronies. My deepest condolences to Mr Nyeon’s family and the good people of Korea. Please forgive the evil darkness that Maada Bio is now using as an instrument to replace the dazzling light of goodness and kindness towards travellers dwelling in our midsts.

  3. To what Patrick Dore is saying I agree. Nothing is going to come out of it. Absolutely nothing!The authorities themselves have not come out to deny the accusations.Investigations no investigation everything is going to be white washed. Sierra Leone has been a corrupt country for decades. However,this current administration promised us a new direction only to lead us to a disastrous one,Worst than previously.

    Since I started making comment on this platform,one thing I had always been consistent with is the portrayal of Maada Bio as a non leader,a man who has missed an opportunity to make himself counted positively in our history books,a man who lacks knowledge in governance,lacks good initiative,surrounded himself with poor advisers,and above all,a man who has not,cannot and will not fulfilled his manifesto promises he made to the people of SL.

    Though two wrongs don’t make a right; but also, half a loaf is better than none..As Emmerson once said “Yestharday beteh pas tiday”…although that “tiday” he was referring to was even better than the current today’s administration

  4. Did Mr Kim Sung Nguyen know too much for his own good and was about to spill the beans about a certain Sierra Leonean murky world where differing and competing interests of unscrupulous, corrupt and venal politicians and civil servants and dubious and scheming foreign investors collide? It seems to me that where the forces of unscrupulousness, corruption, venality, dubiousness and connivance meet and interpenetrate, the result is inevitably a concoction so unwholesome as to cost lives. The victim in this case is a Korean citizen and businessman judged possibly by some antagonists of his to be an undesirable interloper that must to be silenced at all cost and by any means.

    Will the truth behind his demise ever be known? At once cynical and sceptical, I will not hold my breath for even a second, for what if the very process of unmasking the authors of his murder – assuming that is what it is – has the potential in a deeply corrupt country such as ours of being directed or overseen by those who have a vested interest in seeing to it that the case remains unsolved?

    My sincere condolences to Mr Kim Sung Nguyen’s family and friends. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

  5. I don’t think anything in this note is news to the business community in Sierra Leone. Let’s be honest, government officials are very corrupt,no integrity and for worse inept. Do we think there will be proper investigation and justice ? No. It will be a white wash. Is the ministry denying the content of the note , seizing of the trawlers, the fines and the meeting officials had with Mr Nyeon? I bet all will be denied.

    This type of behaviour by government officials have been going on for years , nothing has changed and it is getting worse. The Bio government is not helping it self. God help Sierra Leone.

  6. “No Justice, Faith or trust” That is the crux of the matter. I have come to the conclusion that Sierra Leone is a beautiful country with corrupt people. Majority have this sickness due to extreme poverty, however the main drivers are APC and the SLPP. It is a pity Kandeh Yumkella has fallen silent.

  7. Thank God we have finally got the full picture picture of what happened to this Korean gentleman. And a special thank you goes to Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas and the Sierra Leone Telegraph, for reporting on this matter. Incidents like this are very rear in Sierra Leone. We hope the investigation is transparent and is thoroughly investigated, and no stone is left unturned to find out what happened.And this is for the shake of Mr Nyeon and his family that us mourning their loss, and importantly for the rest of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is not a Mafia state, where Mafia Bosses order hits on rivals. We have a democratically elected government. And we expect the justice system to fire on all four cylinders to get to the bottom of what happened. May the soul of Mr Nyeon rest in peace.

    • I am afraid, a time will come when a Sierra Leonean passport holder will be scared to produce his/her identity in public, fearing for their lives. Because of politics, we are damaging ourselves around the world. Putting our brothers and sisters in danger or harms way, that living or residing in those countries, because of our tongues.

      My deepest regret to hear this kind of murder scandal against my country as most of the google judges, have already started speculating making an immediate conclusion. So we are all agreed to conduct a through investigation? do we have experts CIS (Crisis Investigation Service) for homicide? My condolences to the family of Mr. Nyeon. RIP

  8. Thank you for this information. I can only hope that the investigations will be full, deep and transparent, and not get lost in the sand like the investigations of the Pademba shootings.

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