Knifed US envoy to Seoul in pain as officials investigate
konknaijaboy | On 06, Mar 2015
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to South Korea struggled with pain as he recovered Friday from a knife attack, while police searched the offices of the anti-U.S. activist who they say slashed the envoy while screaming demands for Korean reunification.
The attack Thursday on Mark Lippert, which prompted rival North Korea to gloat about “knife slashes of justice,” left deep gashes and damaged tendons and nerves. It also raised questions about security in a city normally seen as ultra-safe, despite regular threats of war from Pyongyang.
While an extreme example, the attack is the latest act of political violence in a deeply divided country where some protesters portray their causes as matters of life and death.
Lippert, 42, was recovering well but still complaining of pain in the wound on his left wrist and a finger where doctors repaired nerve damage, Severance Hospital official Yoon Do-Heum said in televised briefing. Doctors will remove the 80 stiches on Lippert’s face on Monday or Tuesday and expect him to be out of the hospital by Tuesday or Wednesday. Hospital officials say he may experience sensory problems in his left hand for several months.
Police, meanwhile, searched the offices of the suspect, Kim Ki-jong, 55, for documents and computer files as they investigated how the attack was planned and whether others were involved. Police plan to soon request a warrant for Kim’s formal arrest, and potential charges include attempted murder, assaulting a foreign envoy, obstruction and violating a controversial South Korean law that bars praise or assistance of North Korea, Jongno district police chief Yun Myung-sung told reporters.
Police are investigating Kim’s past travels to North Korea — seven times between 1999 and 2007 — during a previous era of inter-Korean cooperation, when Seoul was ruled by a liberal government. Kim attempted to build a memorial altar for former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il after his death in December 2011, police said. READ MORE