Daughter allegedly removes father from hospital, tries to control Saipan businesses


A woman allegedly removed from a hospital in South Korea her father, a businessman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, and kept him away from the rest of his family, then traveled to Saipan where she is now trying to control all of his businesses and property.

Koom Nye Kim, also known as Koom Nye Lee, wife of more than 40 years of businessman Byung Deuk Lee, and their son, Sang Hun Lee, filed on Friday a lawsuit in Superior Court for protection of the businessman and his interests on Saipan.

Kim asked the court to be appointed as guardian of her husband, Byung Deuk Lee.

Kim and her son, Sang Hun Lee, through counsel David G. Banes, are suing Ji Sook Lee for declaratory judgment, injunction, conversion, alienation of spouse’s affection, abduction of spouse, and publicity placing person in false light.

Defendant Ji Sook Lee is the daughter of businessman Byung Deuk Lee, born out of wedlock, according to the complaint.

Saipan Tribune failed to contact defendant for comment but her name is not in the directory book.

Kim and her son asked the court to declare Byung Deuk Lee to be incompetent. They requested the court to declare as void any purported agency agreement between Byung Deuk Lee and defendant Ji Sook Lee.

The plaintiffs asked the court to order defendant Ji Sook Lee to immediately provide full contact information for Byung Deuk Lee. They requested the court to prohibit the defendant from taking any actions to prevent Byung Deuk Lee from reuniting with them or seeking medical attention.

The plaintiffs asked the court to provide to plaintiff Sang Hun Lee all keys to the LC Property and prohibit defendant from entering the LC Property.

The LC Property refers to a 25-year lease on a piece of land in Garapan. Byung Deuk Lee also owns LC’s Building Rental that collects rent from tenants and manages the LC Property.

Mrs. Kim is a director and shareholder of China Yanbian Foreign Economic & Technical Cooperation Corp. that has engaged in various businesses in the CNMI, and currently manages two restaurants located in the LC Property.

The plaintiffs asked the court to prohibit defendant from attempting to control the business operations of China Yanbian or LC Rental Company.

The plaintiffs asked the court to prohibit the defendant from accepting or intercepting any rent from LC Property tenants.

According to Banes, in 2008, Byung Deuk Lee and LC Rental Company entered into a business management agreement. Under the agreement, Byung Deuk Lee transferred the management, maintenance, and rent collection related to the LC Property to LC Rental Company.

Banes said the 2008 agreement acknowledged that due to health reasons, Byung Deuk Lee could no longer manage the rental business, that he wished to see his son eventually assume all business responsibilities related to the rental of the LC Property.

Banes said as part of the 2008 agreement, Byung Deuk Lee also assigned one-third of the interest in the LC Property lease to LC Rental Company.

Banes said since July 2008, plaintiff Sang Hun Lee, through LC Rental Company, managed the rental business, maintained the LC Property, and collected rents due from LC Property tenants.

However, Banes said, for the past two months, January and February 2016, defendant has intercepted all tenant rental payments.

Banes said in recent years, Byung Deuk Lee has experienced several health problems including a stroke in 2006 and depression and anxiety in 2013.

In 2015, Byung Deuk Lee’s neurological health continued to decline and in May 2015 a physician listed his diagnoses as “Alzheimer’s NOS or memory loss disability NOS” and noted his current state of cognitive impairment.

In 2015, Byung Deuk Lee physically attacked his wife, inappropriately touched a minor girl, and trapped the family dog in the toilet.

In September 2015, he was hospitalized by the police in South Korea after taking a knife to a nearby coffee shop where he yelled, made threats, and damaged property.

Banes said in November 2015, defendant, who had not been in contact with Byung Deuk Lee or the family for more than a decade, showed up in the hospital in South Korea and attempted to remove him.

Banes said the hospital staff refused to discharge Byung Deuk Lee, but the defendant secretly removed him from the hospital.

The plaintiffs don’t know where Byung Deuk Lee has been living since November 2015.

Banes said Byung Deuk Lee arrived on Saipan on Feb. 3, 2016, but he has not been in contact with plaintiffs.

The lawyer alleged that in January 2016, the defendant began publicly presenting false information about her half brother, Sang Hun Lee, concerning his integrity and role in the businesses, and accusing her half brother of abusing his father, Byung Deuk Lee.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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