Real estate agent dies in machete attack


Staff writer

A Federal Way real estate agent died Saturday after he was attacked in the parking lot of his Kent office by a man wielding a machete.

Hyung Lee, 52, had recently sold property to the 54-year-old Maple Valley man arrested in connection with his death, but Kent Police didn’t know if the transaction led to the attack.

The suspect was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Monday. Police hadn’t released his identity by press time.

According to police, both men were driving into the parking lot of Lee’s business, Hankook Real Estate Agency, located in the 23800 block of Pacific Highway South, just before 1 p.m. Saturday when Lee’s Lexus SUV hit the other man’s Lexus coupe. The collision caused the coupe to flip onto its side.

Both men got out of their cars and the suspect attacked Lee with the machete, slashing him in the head and face, police said.

When police officers arrived at the scene about 1 p.m., witnesses standing at a nearby bus stop pointed out the Maple Valley man. He didn’t fight or try to run when they arrested him, police said.

Paramedics treated Lee at the scene, and Medic 1 transported him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 1:50 p.m., according to police.

Federal Way City Councilman Mike Park said knew Lee for a long time. Although they didn’t have a close relationship, their children attend school together at Thomas Jefferson High School.

Park said Lee operated his Kent office at least 15 years and was well-known in the Korean community.

Lee’s family members are gathering from around the country, but Park wasn’t aware Monday if services had been scheduled.

“This is quite a shock to the family,” Park said.

About two hours after officers first arrived, police learned the suspect might have drunk weed killer following the attack. After authorities confirmed there was an empty 16-ounce container of the substance near the cars in the parking lot, the man was taken to Auburn Regional Medical Center for treatment, where he was to remain under guard until doctors released him to the Kent jail.

In April 2000, Federal Way Police, in a separate but similar incident, arrested Hap Ki Do Master Hui Son Choe, who owned a dojo in Federal Way, on suspicion of fatally slashing Bellevue businessman Ki Gol Lee in the leg with a samurai sword.

Lee, a Korean immigrant who helped other Koreans secure home and business loans, died in the parking lot of the dojo in a Korean business complex on Pacific Highway South.

He wasn’t related to Hyung Lee.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

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