Man Who Slashed US Ambassador Gets 12 Years
Envoy needed 80 stitches after S. Korea attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2015 12:48 AM CDT
US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert leaves a lecture hall for a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, on March 5, 2015, after being attacked.   (AP Photo/Yonhap, Kim Ju-Sung)
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(Newser) – A court in Seoul has handed a 12-year prison sentence to a South Korean man who slashed and seriously injured the US ambassador in March. Kim Ki-jong was convicted of attempted murder, assaulting a foreign envoy, and obstruction, according to a Seoul Central District Court spokesman. Both Kim and the prosecution have one week to determine whether to appeal. Prosecutors had previously asked for a 15-year prison term. Kim slashed Mark Lippert during a breakfast forum in Seoul, leaving deep gashes on the envoy's face and arm. Lippert, who needed 80 stitches, was treated for five days at a Seoul hospital.

Kim has described himself as an anti-US activist. He told police that his assault was meant to protest annual US-South Korean military drills but that he didn't intend to kill the ambassador. Police said Kim attempted to kill Lippert because he knifed him more than twice with a force that was enough to penetrate the ambassador's arm as he tried to block the attack. During earlier police questioning, Kim also said South Korea is a semi-colony of the US, according to Seoul police. Shortly after his arrest, Kim shouted that the war games were an obstacle against Korean reunification. (Pyongyang described the attack as a "knife shower of justice.")