In the attempted murder on Ambassador Mark Lippert’s life, a South Korean activist has been charged. As a result, a court issued a formal arrest warrant for the crime, as well as an assault on a foreign envoy, as well as obstruction of business, this according to the Central District Court in Seoul.
The attempted murder of Lippert is an attack on the envoy of the closest ally to the Asian country. The attacker, 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong has been in custody since yesterday and sometime later this week, he will be moved to a detention center.
In a statement released by the South Korean police department, the ambassador was slashed with a 10-inch kitchen knife. At the time, the envoy was at an event, seated as he prepared to give a speech on the topic of alliance between South Korea and the United States.
The attack resulted in a large gash across Lippert’s right cheek, requiring over 80 stitches to close. He also sustained cuts on his fingers and left arm. Since the incident, Lippert has been hospitalized at Severance Hospital after undergoing required surgery. Although recovering, he complained of pain in his left wrist and fingers where nerve damage was repaired.
According to Yoon Do-heum, a spokesperson for the hospital, Lippert will recovery from his injuries and is expected to be released by the middle of next week.
In the meantime, police have been conducting a full investigation to include a search of Ki-jong’s home and office. Reportedly, literally hundreds of documents and books, as well as computer files were seized as experts try to determine what would have motivated the attack.
Ki-jong’s latest travels are also being looked at since from 1999 to 2007, he traveled to North Korea a total of seven times. One of the trips was during an era of inter-Korean cooperation, a time when the liberal government led South Korea.
According to an insider, Ki-jong has been involved with violent and anti-US protests for a long time. Prior to being led away by police, he made the comment that he attacked the envoy as a way of protecting annual South Korea and US military drills. However, according to the attorney working on behalf of Ki-jong, the attacks were not premeditated.
Military drills conducted in coalition between South Korea and the US are commonly protested and in fact, state media for North Korea released a statement in which it said that Lippert deserved a “knife of justice”, citing the event as an indication that people of South Korea oppose the joint effort drills.