Subway Arson Attack Leaves Passengers Unscathed

An arson attack on Wednesday morning on a subway train that was approaching Dogok Station on Subway Line No. 3 in Seoul caused about 370 passengers to be evacuated. There were no reported injuries as passengers were quickly led away and the fire was put out within 10 minutes.

The incident temporarily suspended subway operations in both directions and resumed a couple of hours later.

The suspected arsonist is a man in his 70s who splashed 11 liters of paint thinner around the subway car and lit it with a lighter. But passengers' cool-headed response and the train engineer's prompt evacuation instructions ensured that there were no serious injuries and the fire was brought swiftly under complete control.

A 62-year-old passenger identified as Suh sprained his ankle during the escape. The only fire damage was to six seats in the subway car.

Seats in a subway car are charred after arson at Dogok Station on Subway Line No. 3 in Seoul on Wednesday. Seats in a subway car are charred after arson at Dogok Station on Subway Line No. 3 in Seoul on Wednesday.

Police arrested the suspect, identified as Cho, at a hospital near Dogok Station.

Police quoted Cho as saying he was embroiled in a lawsuit with the owner of the building where he ran a bar, and when the court ruled in the owner's favor, Cho tried to immolate himself to protest against the injustice. But once he set the fire he became so afraid of dying that he ran away, police said.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 29, 2014 11:52 KST