Briton arrested after climbing 72nd floor of Seoul skyscraper


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A Briton was arrested Monday after climbing more than half the height of the world’s fifth-tallest skyscraper in Seoul with only his bare hands, authorities said.

More than 90 rescue workers, police and other staff were dispatched to the 123-storey, 555-metre (1,820ft) tall Lotte World Tower after the man was spotted climbing the building on Monday morning , Seoul Fire Department said in a statement. statement.

The man, in his 20s, reached the 72nd floor, about 310 meters above the ground, before authorities took him to a gondola and transported him inside the building, according to the press release.

South Korean media identified the man as free climber George King-Thompson. Reports indicated he was carrying a parachute and told police he wanted to BASE-jump from the top of the building.

Firefighters and police did not immediately confirm the man’s name or motives.

King-Thompson was arrested in 2019 after climbing the Shard in London – the UK’s tallest skyscraper at 310 meters (1,017ft) – after the building’s owners filed a trespassing complaint against him. He was sentenced to six months in prison and served three.

In 2021, he scaled the 36-storey Stratosphere Tower, a residential building in Stratford, east London, and reached the top in less than half an hour. He said he chose this building because he was shocked by the flash floods that recently hit the area and wanted to raise awareness of the seriousness of climate change.

Police confirmed they arrested the man, but did not provide further details.

Lotte Property & Development, which operates the tower, said the man did not suffer serious injuries. The statement from the fire department indicates that he suffered a cut to the skin on his right knee.

In 2018, French mountaineer Alain Robert, nicknamed “Spiderman” for his daring stunt, was also arrested after climbing the 75th floor of the Lotte World Tower. Lotte officials said they learned he was eventually released and left South Korea after telling police they did not want to press charges for obstruction or trespassing.

Lotte Property & Development said company officials needed to discuss the decision with the Briton.

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