June 7 (UPI) — A South Korean government employee crashed his car into the security gates of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, raising security concerns ahead of a historic summit between Washington and Pyongyang in Singapore.
The incident took place at about 7:15 p.m., Seoul’s Jongno district police said, according to local newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun.
The suspect said he was not staging an assault, but seeking asylum in the wake of inter-Korea engagement.
“I want to flee to the United States as an exile,” the man told local authorities.
The man was identified only by his surname Yun, 47, and as a worker at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, according to local press reports.
Yun is a midlevel civil servant who was taking the afternoon off from work before he crashed his vehicle into the embassy, Yonhap reported late Thursday.
Eyewitnesses told the South Korean news agency Yun was driving on the “second lane” of the road headed to the Gwanghwamun area when he unexpectedly began to head for the embassy entrance.
The car was badly damaged at the front and dented the embassy’s security gates.
Yun then stepped out of the car and said in English, “Help me,” as police approached him.
The man said he had “an incident involving North Korea” and that is why seeks asylum in the United States.
Alcohol tests indicated Yun had not been drinking and was sober at the time of the crash.
Police have charged him with destruction of “special property” and will be investigating his past records and history.
A woman who was riding with Yun at the time of the crash was taken to a nearby hospital.
Yun may have switched seats with the woman ahead of the crash, some eyewitnesses told Yonhap.