Knife-wielding attacker slashes face of U.S. ambassador in South Korea

admin   •   March 5, 2015   •   2187

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert leaves after he was slashed in the face by an unidentified assailant at a public forum in central Seoul March 5, 2015. Lippert was attending a breakfast forum in central Seoul when a man attacked him, slashing him in the face, a witness at the event told Reuters. CREDIT: REUTERS/YONHA

 

(Reuters) – U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert underwent two-and-a-half hours of surgery after he was slashed in the face by a Korean nationalist in an attack at a forum held in Seoul on Thursday to discuss Korean reunification, officials said.

Lippert, 42, was bleeding from wounds to his face and wrist but was able to walk after the attack. Doctors said later on Thursday his condition was stable after “very successful” surgery that required 80 stitches in his face.

The assailant was caught and identified by police as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong. In 2010, Kim tried to attack the Japanese ambassador to Seoul by throwing a piece of concrete and was given a suspended jail term, according to police.

Witnesses and police said Kim used a small fruit knife in the attack, which took place inside a large government arts center across the street from the heavily guarded U.S. embassy on the South Korean capital’s main ceremonial thoroughfare.

“We strongly condemn this act of violence,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Lippert to wish him a speedy recovery, a White House official said.

The assailant was dressed in traditional Korean clothing and shouted that North and South Korea should be reunited just before he attacked Lippert. He also shouted that he opposed “war exercises”, a reference to annual joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises that began this week.

“I carried out an act of terror,” Kim shouted as he was pinned to the floor by event attendees.

Kim said while in police custody he had acted alone. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that Kim also said he was part of a group that had cut and burned a U.S. flag on the embassy grounds in Seoul in 1985.

Kim is a member of the pro-Korean unification group that hosted the event, police said. He also stages one-man protests against Japan over disputed islands known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese. He was part of a small anti-Japanese demonstration on March 1 near the site of Thursday’s attack, according to his blog.

“The guy comes in … He yells something, goes up to the ambassador and slashes him in the face,” witness Michael Lammbrau of the Arirang Institute think tank told Reuters.

Doctors at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital said they treated Lippert for an 11-cm (4 inches) gash on the right side of his face and a puncture wound on his left wrist, causing nerve damage that was repaired. He will be hospitalized for three or four days, they said.

‘WRESTLED TO THE GROUND’

Police were at the venue as part of routine operations but not at the request of the U.S. embassy or the organizer, a police official said.

Lammbrau said Kim shouted about Korean independence while he was being restrained. “It sounded like he was anti-American, anti-imperialist, that kind of stuff,” he said.

“The ambassador fought him from his seat … There was a trail of blood behind him,” Lammbrau said.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, speaking in the United Arab Emirates, called it an “attack on the South Korea-U.S. alliance.”

Known for his open, informal style, Lippert is active on Twitter and can often be seen walking his basset hound, Grigsby, in Seoul. His wife recently gave birth to a son, who was given a Korean middle name.

Thursday’s event was hosted by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation. The group later issued a statement in which it condemned the attack and apologized to the governments of the United States and South Korea.

The annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises routinely provoke an angry response from North Korea, which denounces them as a preparation for war.

A South Korean defense ministry spokesman said the drills, due to run for eight weeks, would continue as planned.

Lippert was a U.S. Senate aide to Obama and served in the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan and Iraq, winning the Bronze Star. He was chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel before taking up his post in Seoul in November.

(Additional reporting by Sohee Kim, Seungyun Oh and Brian Kim in SEOUL and Ian Simpson, Roberta Rampton and Peter Cooney in WASHINGTON; Writing by Jack Kim and Tony Munroe; Editing by Paul Tait)

PCG aids 34 seafarers after fire incident in fishing vessel’s engine room

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2021

CEBU, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) assisted 34 seafarers who abandoned their fishing vessel after an engine fire.

A fire incident broke out inside the engine room of Korean fishing vessel, FV No. 96 Oyang on Tuesday (January 26). The vessel was at the vicinity waters off Panganiban, Catanduanes.

The crew, composed of 22 Indonesians, 10 Koreans, and two Filipinos ‘abandoned ship’ following the captain’s orders. Rescue operations were immediately conducted.

The PCG assisting the seafarers arrived at the Port of Cebu on Wednesday (January 27) and were transported into a quarantine facility after taking swab tests.

The survivors are being monitored by their ship company’s representative, in coordination with IATF – Region VII and South Korea Consulate based in Cebu City. AAC

DND wants to acquire helicopters from South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday expressed his department’s intention to acquire helicopters from South Korea.

In a statement, Lorenzana said the DND is looking to acquire South Korean UH-1H and MD500 helicopters.

He, however, said the acquisition project is still in the “exploratory stage.”

Its details, including the timeline and quantity of the assets to be acquired, have yet to be finalized, he added.

In a congratulatory letter to newly-appointed Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Suh Wook, Lorenzana also bared DND’s plan to conduct a Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The team will be composed of representatives from the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Lorenzana assured that the JVI will be conducted following strict biosafety protocols amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Filipinos who get COVID-19 in South Korea to shoulder full treatment cost starting August 24

Marje Pelayo   •   August 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines has advised Filipinos of the policy change covering subsidies for foreigners who get infected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to the existing policy, the South Korean government has been shouldering all medical expenses of foreign nationals who get sick of COVID-19. However, starting August 24, all foreigners who get infected in South Korea within 14 days from entry must be responsible for their own medical expenses.

Currently, the Phillippine government supports treatment costs for Korean nationals who tested positive for COVID-19 and who were confined in government hospitals and other medical facilities in the country.

In exchange for this gesture, the Korean government will subsidize the hospital room charges for Filipinos in South Korea but they have to pay for their own food on top of the treatment costs.

“Therefore, we hereby recommend all Filipinos to secure private health insurance that could cover treatments received in foreign countries like Korea before entering,” the Embassy said.

In addition to this, the Embassy noted that “mutual agreements can be made in the event that the Philippine government will enlarge its financial support coverage for Koreans in the Philippines.” 

However, the Korean Embassy warned that “irresponsible foreigners and people who disobey Korean government’s quarantine policy shall shoulder all the medical costs starting from August 17, 2020.”

Among the offenses mentioned include submitting fake medical certificates and/or violating quarantine or isolation orders. 

<Public Statement on policy change of subsidizing Covid-19 positive Filipinos in Korea>○ Up to the present, the Korean…

Posted by Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines on Monday, 17 August 2020

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