South Korean police said Friday they were investigating possible links the man behind a shocking knife attack on the US ambassador may have had with North Korea.
Kim Ki-Jong, 55, faces possible attempted murder charges after slashing ambassador Mark Lippert with a paring knife in an assault that left the US envoy needing 80 stitches to a deep gash on his face.
“We are investigating his possible connection with North Korea,” Yoon Myung-Soon, the police chief of the central Seoul district where the attack took place, told reporters.
“There is no evidence yet, but we are trying to find out whether he has violated the national security law,” Yoon said.
Enacted in 1948 to protect the fledgling South Korean state from infiltration by the communist North, the law prohibits the spoken or written promotion of North Korean ideology, deeming any such activity to be “anti-state” and subject to up to seven years imprisonment.
Kim’s home and office in western Seoul were searched early Friday, with documents and computer hard drives removed for further examination, police said.
As he was moved from the police station to court on Friday, Kim was asked if he had acted on the orders of North Korea.
“No, nothing like that,” he replied, saying the idea was “outrageous.”