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Students, teacher held hostage for over 6 hours

Posted March. 18, 2001 19:12,   


A man in his 20s broke into a classroom at a girls high school in Chungju Saturday morning and held a teacher and four students hostage for six and half hours. No was reportedly hurt in the incident. The man, identified as Jee Sung-Ho, 25, of Chungju City, was arrested at the scene by special police commandos.

Police said Jee was armed with two knives when he entered the classroom of third graders at about 10:05 a.m. He drove one of the knives into the teacher`s desk and shouted ``the class is over.``

While he was pointing at Lee Young-Soo, 50, chief of the schools` teaching affairs department, who had followed him into the classroom, 36 students sneaked out of the room through the back door. Jee took as hostages female teacher Lee Seung-Hee, 35, and four other students who were unable to flee.

School authorities immediately called police, sent the students who managed to escape from the scene to hospital, and evacuated the premises.

Arriving at the school 10 minutes later, some 60 officers assembled outside the classroom while Jee forced the students to the windows at knife point.

Police brought Jee`s father, younger sister and friends to the scene, but he refused to talk with them.

After hours of failed negotiations, police created a diversion at about 4:05 p.m. while five commandos smashed the windows, exploded stunt bombs apprehended Jee in a matter of seconds.

Jee told police that he took the students hostage in order to find a man only identified as Cho, who ran off with 5 million won of his savings. Jee said he gave Cho the money to buy a car on a monthly installment plan. Cho has been missing for more than a year and he was desperate to find him. Police asked the court Sunday to issue an arrest warrant for Jee on charges of violating the Law on the Punishment of Violent Acts.

Jee Myung-Hun mhjee@donga.com