Man Dies After Setting Fire to His Car Near Japanese Embassy

Jay Yim, July 19, 2019, 9:32 a.m.

 A man in his 70s died after setting fire to his car as it was parked in front of a building housing the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Friday, police said.

The 78-year-old man, identified only by the surname Kim, drove his car onto the sidewalk in front of the entrance of the building and set fire to the inside of the vehicle around 3:24 a.m., suffering burns all over his body, according to police. Inside the car, inflammable materials including butane gas were found.

The fire was extinguished in 10 minutes and the man, who had suffered severe burns, was rushed to a nearby hospital. At the hospital, he died from severe burn-related shock and respiratory failure later in the day.

Kim drove the car, which he borrowed from an acquaintance the previous day, to the scene after leaving his house in the early hours of Friday, police said.

He also spoke to the acquaintance by phone, saying he would start the fire because of his ill feeling toward Japan.

Kim's family told police that the man's father-in-law had been forcibly taken to Japan to work during World War II. Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, during which time millions of Koreans were mobilized into forced labor, according to historians.

Police are taking witness accounts and looking at CCTV images captured nearby.

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