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Police arrest student in Yonsei nail bomb attack

June 15,2017
Authorities arrested a 25-year-old graduated student on Tuesday night after he confessed to making the bomb that exploded at Yonsei University in western Seoul that morning, injuring his professor.

The student, surnamed Kim, confessed to authorities that he made the bomb at home and left it hanging on the door of the professor’s office on the fourth floor of Engineering Hall 1 on Tuesday morning.

The bomb detonated when the professor, a 47-year-old surnamed Kim, opened it. Kim was treated at Severance Hospital for first and second degree burns on his wrists, chest, face and neck.

Police said they are seeking a detention warrant for the suspect on the charges of using explosives, which is punishable with at least seven years up to life in prison.

“We saw on the CCTV camera footage that the student turned up at the hallway around 7:27 to 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday,” a police officer said. “When he came to school in the afternoon, we questioned him and followed him to his boarding house near the university.”

Kim placed the bomb inside a paper bag and hung it on the doorknob of the professor’s office around 7:41 to 7:44 a.m. Tuesday, police said. He then returned to his boarding house near the university and ate breakfast, before returning to the university.

“Footage taken near his home showed him throwing away a pair of gloves,” the officer said. “We found evidence of gunpowder on these gloves. So we brought him to the precinct and questioned him more, and arrested him upon his confession.”

Kim was additionally interrogated on Wednesday but authorities did not announce Kim’s motive as of press time.

“People have been saying that the suspect may have attacked the professor because he gave him a low grade,” said the officer. “But these are unconfirmed assumptions.”

Police said they will be announcing their findings on the suspect’s motive in a briefing this morning. The bomb was made out of a tumbler, which was charged with gunpowder, four AA-sized batteries and screws.

“The bomb was designed so that upon its detonation, the screws would fly out,” a police officer said. “But when the professor opened the box and set off the bomb, the screws did not fly out. The bomb was probably made following procedures that could be found online.”

When the bomb detonated at the engineering building on Tuesday, some 70 police officers and some 20 soldiers of the explosive hazard clearance teams of the army were dispatched.

The building was quarantined until around 12:30 p.m., when police removed police lines except around Kim’s office on the fourth floor.

Nail bombs have been used in terror attacks before in Manchester and Boston.

BY LEE HYUN [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]