U.S. ambassador to Seoul unhappy with police response to intruder in his residence

by WorldTribune Staff, September 14, 2018

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris is said to be dissatisfied with the police response to an intruder at his residence in downtown Seoul.

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris. / Yonhap

At about 10 p.m. on Sept. 3, a woman was caught inside the residence, the Habib House. It couldn’t be confirmed whether the ambassador was at home when the intrusion occurred.

The Namdaemun police station, which is handling the case, told The Korea Times that the suspect, a Korean-Chinese woman who arrived in Seoul two days earlier, was released 48 hours after the incident and it was no big deal.

“Breaking in and entering is not a serious crime,” a police officer said. “By law we could hold the woman for 48 hours. So we released her.” When asked whether there was any reason to request an extension, the officer said no.

Harris’s predecessor, Mark Lippert, was stabbed by a man at a conference in Seoul on March 5, 2015. Lippert, a former Navy SEAL, suffered wounds on his face and hand that required 80 stitches.

His attacker had multiple links to North Korea, Geostrategy-Direct.com reported.

Related: N. Korea’s praise of attack on U.S. envoy dash hope for thaw, March 15, 2015

South Korea is riddled with North Korean sympathizers and suspected infiltrators who have exploited democratic reforms in Seoul in the years following the Korean War that was sparked by the communist North.

Harris is not happy with the intrusion and the lack of adequate follow-up measures by the police, The Korea Times reported on Sept. 14.

“He is said to be dissatisfied with the Korean police response, not even offering written assurances promising no repetition of a similar incident,” the report said. “He is said to be upset about what could have happened if the woman was an ISIS terrorist trained to harm him.”

The U.S. embassy said the residence has a two-tiered surveillance and guard system ― the premises are covered by security guards on contract with it, while the Korean police guard the outside.

“We can’t say how the person came into the premises and the probe is being handled by the police,” an embassy official said.

According to the Korea Times, “The woman was reportedly speaking incoherently and making an unfounded claim that she was a relative of former President Lee Myung-Bak, now in jail and being tried for corruption while in office, among other things.”

 


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