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Students Rough Up S. Korea’s Premier : Unrest: Newly appointed Chung Won Shik is kicked, pelted with flour, eggs on campus.

From Times Wire Services

Militant students Monday roughed up South Korea’s new prime minister, kicking him and hurling eggs and flour at him after he tried to give a lecture at a Seoul university, police and witnesses said.

Government officials said that Chung Won Shik, 62, who was appointed May 24, suffered bruises but did not require hospitalization.

Chung’s appointment has been denounced by opposition groups, who consider him a hard-liner.

The incident began when about 200 students began a sit-in outside the room at Hankook University of Foreign Studies where Chung was teaching a graduate class. When he emerged, students hurled eggs at him.

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The prime minister locked himself in another room, but students broke open the doors, witnesses said. He then was taken out to the school’s playing ground, where he was surrounded by hundreds of students, they said.

Students kicked the prime minister and hurled wheat flour at him as he was led toward the school’s main gate, witnesses said. Aides rescued the prime minister and fled by taxi, they said.

Television footage showed Chung with his necktie and jacket askew and his glasses thrown to the ground with broken eggs and white flour all over his head, face and clothes.

The prime minister’s office called an emergency meeting and vowed to punish students involved in the “senseless terrorism.”

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“I feel extremely sad about today’s situation,” Chung said through a spokesman. “It’s regrettable that the disturbance erupted when I wanted to fulfill my obligation as a professor rather than a prime minister.”

Chung, the education minister from 1988 to 1990, taught at the school during spring semester. Aides said Monday was his final day of classes.

State radio said later that President Roh Tae Woo told the Education Ministry to take steps to end student violence after the assault on Chung.

Information Minister Choi Chang Yoon said in a statement that students who took part in the attack would be sternly punished by authorities.

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The attack occurred hours after 1,500 riot police using tear gas and water cannon fought with 500 students guarding a Seoul hospital morgue where the body of a dead protester was being kept.

About 30 students and 10 riot police were injured in the street attack, witnesses said.

No arrests were reported in the fighting, among the latest government-student clashes in the wake of the beating death in April of another militant student by police.


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