Court Denies Extradition of Chinese Arsonist to Japan

A court on Thursday denied an extradition request to Japan of a Chinese man tried setting a small fire at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Earlier, Liu Qiang had also allegedly firebombed the militarist Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

The court found Liu's actions were politically motivated.

"His political convictions and his views of historical facts" such as the sexual enslavement of Asian women by the Imperial Japanese Army "are not his own independent and original ideas. They are in sync with views that have gained wide-ranging sympathy and support in the international community as well as in Korea and China."

/Yonhap /Yonhap

The court said Liu's extradition to Japan goes against constitutional principles and "the universal values of most civilized countries," the court added.

Liu threw Molotov cocktails at the Yasukuni Shrine on Dec. 26, 2011 and then escaped to Korea, where he was arrested after firebombing the Japanese Embassy in Jongno on Jan. 8 last year.

He served 10 months in prison for the embassy attack. The Seoul High Court set him free right after it handed down Thursday's ruling.

Liu must report to the Immigration Office and can then return to China.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry on Thursday described the court decision as "regrettable" and said the embassy in Seoul will again press the Korean Foreign Ministry to extradite him.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 04, 2013 09:28 KST