by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
Kim Ki-jong, a 55-year-old leftist activist, faces charges of attempted murder, violence against a foreign envoy and obstruction of official duty, according to his arrest warrant. He has claimed he acted alone, but several top South Korean officials, including President Park Geun-hye, urged law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the crime and determine whether or not someone else was pulling the strings. The attack is being considered as an act of terrorism by pro-North Korean forces.
Police uncovered materials that indicated Kim’s pro-North Korean views during raids of his home and office, and they are seeking a warrant to look through his phone records. They believe Kim had planned the crime some 10 days in advance.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office is leading a “special probe team” of nearly 100 police officers and prosecutors, many of whom are versed in anti-communism and anti-terrorism.
Kim has told authorities he had attacked Lippert on his own to protest the joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea—without the intent to kill him. Lippert is now recovering and in stable condition after undergoing emergency surgery.
Kim’s political activities are well-known: He had visited North Korea seven times between 1999 and 2007, touring Mt. Geungangsan once and visiting the border city of Gaeseong multiple times with a left-wing civic group, according to the Korea Herald. In December 2011, Kim attempted to set up an altar near Seoul City Hall in memory of Kim Jong-il’s death that year.
Featured image via Yonhap News