Korean Student Sets Self Afire, Leaps to Death

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United Press International

A student set himself on fire and leaped to his death from the top of a four-story building today during an anti-government rally at South Korea’s largest university, witnesses said.

Lee Dong Soo, 23, a student at the state-run Seoul National University’s Agriculture College, jumped from the campus building and fell in flames yards from where riot police had surrounded the anti-government rally.

Witnesses said Lee appeared on the roof of the building, shouted “Go back police!” and “U.S. imperialists!”, doused himself with kerosene, set himself on fire and jumped.


Horrified students cried out. Some rushed to where Lee had fallen and tried to extinguish the flames. Riot police lobbed tear gas canisters at the crowd, adding to the confusion.

Dead on Arrival

Hospital officials said Lee died before he arrived at the emergency room. There were no other reports of injuries or arrests.

Witnesses said the incident occurred after about 1,000 riot police stormed onto the campus to disperse the 3,000 students listening to a speech by a prominent dissident leader, the Rev. Moon Ik Hwan.

Shortly after Lee’s fall, the students clashed with police, who responded with tear gas. About 400 students refused a police order to disperse and sat in front of the school’s library.

Lee was the third student from Seoul National University, South Korea’s largest, to set himself on fire to protest the policies of President Chun Doo Hwan and call for direct presidential elections.

On April 28, two students doused themselves with kerosene and set themselves on fire during an anti-government protest in southern Seoul. One of the students died and the other was still in serious condition today.