Union official attempts self-immolation ahead of detention hearing

A labor union official attempted self-immolation outside a court in the eastern coastal city of Gangneung on Monday, just hours before he was scheduled to attend a pretrial detention hearing on charges of business obstruction.

The 50-year-old man doused himself in flammable liquid and set himself on fire at around 9:35 a.m. in front of a district court in Gangneung, 163 kilometers east of Seoul, fire officials said.

He sustained serious burns and was taken to a nearby hospital, but remained unconscious. He will be airlifted to a burns specialist hospital in Seoul, they said.

This photo from Yonhap News TV shows a door of the local branch of the Chuncheon District Court in Gangneung, 163 kilometers east of Seoul

He is an official of the local chapter of a nationwide construction workers’ union under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.

He was scheduled to attend a detention hearing at the court at 3 p.m. The local prosecution earlier requested arrest warrants for him and two other union officials on charges of obstructing business by forcing the hiring of union members between May 2022 and February this year.

At the news of the attempted suicide, union members who were attending a Labor Day rally in nearby Wonju traveled to Gangneung.

Source: Yonhap News Agency