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US envoy attack: S Korea police seek attempted murder charge


SOUTH Korean police say they are seeking a detention warrant for a man who slashed the US ambassador to South Korea on charges of attempted murder.

Ambassador Mark Lippert is recovering in hospital after Kim Ki-jong attacked him with a knife on Thursday.

During the attack, Mr Kim called for reunification of the two Koreas.

Police said they were also investigating Mr Kim’s links with North Korea, after it was revealed he had made multiple visits.

He also had a history of nationalist militant activity, media reports said.

A small group of people in South Korea see the US has the main obstacle to the reunification of a divided Korean peninsula.Yoon Myeong-seong, head of the Jongno Police Station, said authorities were considering arresting Mr Kim, 55, on charges of attempted murder, violence against a foreign envoy and business obstruction, Yonhap news agency reported.

Mr Kim, who was apprehended after the incident, told police that he did not intend to kill Mr Lippert.

Mr Yoon also said they were considering charging him with violating South Korea’s National Security Law, which bans South Koreans from publicly sympathising with the government of North Korea.

Mr Kim also shouted opposition to annual US-South Korean military drills, which began Monday, during the attack.

North Korea traditionally opposes the drills, which it describes as a rehearsal for invasion. Late on Thursday, it described the attack as “just punishment for US warmongers”, in a statement on state media.

Mr Lippert, 42, was given 80 stitches to the deep cut on his face and underwent hours of surgery to repair nerve damage on his hand.

Doctors said Mr Lippert would be discharged early next week.

In 1985, was part of a group that cut and burned a US flag on the embassy grounds in Seoul, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency

Visited North Korea at least six times in 2006-07, reportedly planting trees near the border city of Kaesong

In 2007, set himself on fire in front of the presidential office in Seoul, asking for an inquiry into a rape that had allegedly taken place at his office in 1988 (Yonhap)

When in 2010 he hurled concrete at the then Japanese envoy, Toshinori Shigeie, it was the first assault on a foreign ambassador in South Korea; he received a suspended jail term

In 2011, he tried to erect a memorial altar for the late North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, in the heart of Seoul (Yonhap)

Has also staged one-man protests against Japan over an island dispute (Reuters)

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