Soldier captured after suicide attempt

Last updated 18:54 23/06/2014

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The Defense Ministry says that a South Korean soldier who had ran away after allegedly killing five colleagues has been captured following an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

A Defense Ministry official the 22-year-old sergeant surnamed Yim shot himself on the side of his abdomen but failed to kill himself.

The official says Yim was been taken to a nearby hospital.

The official, who requested anonymity citing department rules, gave no further details.

There has been massive manhunt for Yim since authorities said he killed five and wounded seven Saturday night before fleeing his frontline army unit with his standard issue K2 assault rifle.

He also fired Sunday on the troops chasing him, injuring a platoon leader. On Monday, officials said a South Korean soldier was wounded by suspected friendly fire.

Yim holed up in a forest as his parents pleaded with him to surrender.

Troops surrounded Yim so closely in the forest about 7 kilometre from the border outpost that they could toss him a mobile phone to talk to his father as well as bread and bottled water.

Yim had ammunition and officials feared he might ‘‘commit an extreme act’’ — an apparent reference to suicide, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said at a briefing.

Besides the mobile phone, Yim’s parents also used a loudspeaker to try to persuade him to surrender, according to the Defense Ministry.

It wasn’t clear what triggered the rampage, and there was no indication that South Korea’s bitter rival, North Korea, was involved.

Yim was scheduled to complete his nearly two years of mandatory military service in September, according to defense officials.

Initial personality tests in April of last year put Yim within a group of soldiers who need special attention and are unfit for frontline duty, a Defense Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But tests last November concluded he had improved and could serve in the frontline area, said the official. 

-Agencies

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