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Police Cleared of Charges in Jan. 20 Deadly Clash

Posted February. 10, 2009 09:23,   


Prosecutors said yesterday that no police officers will face charges for the Jan. 20 deadly fire that killed six people in Seoul’s Yongsan district.

Twenty-one protestors and seven security guards hired by developers will be charged, including four to five people who sprayed paint thinner and threw firebombs at police from the rooftop of a building.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office announced yesterday its midterm progress report on the incident.

Five suspects are in custody, including one man who resisted by throwing firebombs even after the fire broke out. Sixteen suspects originally faced prosecution with detention, but one was excluded at the last minute.

The lead representative of the tenants group in Yongsan’s fourth district is also under arrest.

Prosecutors charged seven private security guards, including one who shot water at protesters with supply hoses installed by police last month and piled up waste materials on the stairs and set fire to them.

On the cause of the fire, investigators said protesters sprayed paint thinner on the fourth floor of the lookout. A firebomb thrown by a protester fell on the third floor, spreading the fire throughout the lookout in a minute.