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(5th LD) Police arrest Seoul university parcel bomb suspect

All Headlines 21:30 June 13, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 4-5)

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korean police said Tuesday they've arrested a suspect in connection with a parcel bomb explosion that injured a professor at a university in western Seoul.

The explosion occurred in an engineering faculty building at Yonsei University around 8:41 a.m., when a professor, identified only by his surname Kim, opened a box in his office on the fourth floor, according to the police.

He suffered minor burns to his neck, chest and hands, and is being treated at a nearby hospital. Kim teaches architecture at the university.

Police said the suspect is a graduate school student who also studies architecture at the same university. The police said that they are questioning the 25-year-old suspect, who is also identified only by his surname Kim, at Seodaemun Police Station. The police previously said that they would look into the case as a possible misdeed by a student holding a personal grudge against the professor.

The police said they arrested the suspect near the university around 8:23 p.m. after analyzing CCTV footage of the area. They also added that the officers have secured equipment used to manufacture the explosive package.

The blast at the university prompted authorities to send a military bomb squad and a police special operations unit to the scene, on the possibility that it was a terror attack.

Professor Kim told the police that he found the box in a shopping bag hanging on a door knob, and it "suddenly exploded when I opened it."

Personnel from the military bomb squad canvas the explosion area with a bomb-sniffing dog at Yonsei University on June 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

Witnesses at the scene also told police that a parcel went off suddenly, and they saw "small bolts shoot out" of the box.

Students and staff were told to evacuate the building, causing a commotion as they showed panic following the explosion.

"I got out of the building with my friends. I heard no sound of a 'boom,'" said a 28-year-old student named Cho.

The police earlier suspected that the explosives were made by an amateur, citing the clumsiness of the device's composition. A photo released by the police showed a box, partially burned, with a plastic drink tumbler that was filled with dozens of small bolts which were probably put in to maximize casualties, they said.

The portable cup was connected to wires and four batteries that are sold at any hardware store.

A team of some 70 police officers from a bomb squad and crime lab worked at the scene to find out the exact cause of the incident and analyze the explosive device, according to the police as they cordoned off the area.

This photo shows the explosive used in an attack at Yonsei University on June 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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