UK & World News

  • 23 June 2014, 10:27

S Korean Soldier Captured After Shoot-Out

A South Korean soldier who killed five members of his own unit has been captured in dense forest after a failed suicide attempt.

The 22-year-old, identified only by his surname Lim, shot himself in the stomach after his father and brother pleaded with him to surrender, according to a Defence Ministry official.

Some 4,000 soldiers, backed up by helicopters, had surrounded the conscript soldier during a 24-hour stand-off, which started when he was tracked down in the forest.

Lim had been hiding there for two days after launching the grenade and gun attack, which also injured seven, on Saturday at his base in Goseong, near the border with North Korea.

After the attack he fled with his standard-issue K2 assault rifle and 60 rounds of ammunition. 

When troops tried to capture him, he stood his ground and opened fire. During the exchange, a platoon leader was wounded in the arm and another soldier was injured by friendly fire.

Officials had negotiated with him via a loud speaker to persuade him to surrender and threw him a mobile phone so he could talk to his father. They also threw him bread and bottled water. 

The soldier was reportedly in tears when he asked negotiators to hand their phone to his father.

"He talked to his parents for several minutes, and they pleaded with him to surrender," an official said.

After being captured, Lim was rushed to hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Lim's motives remain unclear. He had been on a scheduled list to be discharged from the army in September and was described as an introvert who had difficulty adapting to military life.

He was on a list of "those who require special attention," said an officer, who added there had been concerns about his psychological health, but he was deemed fit to be deployed to the outpost after passing a test in November.