Kim Ki-jong has been identified as the man suspected of attacking the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert in Seoul, according to Korean media reports and the New York Times. His name has also been spelled Ki-joong in some reports.
The attack happened while Lippert was attending a breakfast event organized by the Korean Council for Rehabilitation and Reconciliation at a central Seoul lecture hall, according to the Associated Press.
Lippert, who has been ambassador to South Korea since October, was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. Local media reports showed Lippert bleeding heavily, but conscious and walking under his own power.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Was Taken Into Custody After the Stabbing
Kim, 55, was arrested at the scene, according to South Korean media reports. He spoke to reporters as he was being taken away from the scene and gave them his name.
Witnesses told the Yonhap news agency that Kim attacked Lippert from behind, pushing him onto a table and attacking him with a small blade.
Witnesses said Kim, coming from behind, pushed Lippert onto a table and started assaulting him. The envoy was about to start his meal at the breakfast meeting preceding his speech, police said.
Video shows Kim being dragged to the ground and taken into custody.
2. He Was Apparently Protesting the U.S. Military’s Presence in Korea
Kim reportedly is against the joint U.S.-South Korea military drills that began this week, according to Yonhap.
The attacker screamed “South and North Korea should be reunified,” before the attack, the Associated Press reports.
3. He Threw Concrete at a Japanese Ambassador in 2010
Kim Ki-Jong was arrested in July 2010 for throwing a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador to South Korea, according to Yanhap news.
He received a two-year suspended prison sentence.
According to a 2010 report by Japanprobe.com, Kim is an ultra-nationalist who attacked the Japanese ambassador in hopes to be seen like his hero, An Jung-guen, who gunned down the Japanese ambassador in 1909.
4. He Tried to Set Himself on Fire During Another Protest in 2007
Kim tried to set himself on fire in 2007 in an attempt to get the government to investigate a 1998 rape known as the “rape incident in Our Yard,” according to the Korea Times. The rape occurred at an office called “Our Yard” where Kim worked. In that incident, four unidentified assailants raped a woman at the office building in Cheong Wa Dae, the Korea Times reported.
5. He Sees Himself as a Guardian of the Dokdo Islands
Kim started a group to serve as a watchdog for the Dokdo Islands, the easternmost islands of Korea. There is dispute over whether the islands belong to South Korea or Japan. according to the Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo.
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