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Seoul taxi driver arrested for blocking ambulance

All News 20:08 July 24, 2020

SEOUL, July 24 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul taxi driver who caused public outrage by blocking an ambulance transferring an emergency patient was formally arrested Friday.

The Seoul Eastern District Court granted an arrest warrant for the 31-year-old driver, citing the possibility that he may flee or destroy evidence. The court said his charges have been sufficiently explained.

A taxi driver suspected of intentionally blocking an ambulance carrying an emergency patient attends a hearing at the Seoul Eastern District Court in eastern Seoul on July 24, 2020. (Yonhap)

The driver, identified by his surname Choi, is suspected of intentionally colliding with an ambulance last month and delaying the transfer of the patient for roughly 10 minutes.

The ambulance was carrying a stage 4 lung cancer patient who had complained of breathing difficulties. The 79-year-old patient, who arrived at a hospital on another ambulance, died that night.

Choi reportedly told the ambulance driver to deal with the minor collision before transferring the patient, saying he would "take responsibility if the (patient) dies."

The incident has sparked nationwide anger after the patient's son posted an online petition with the presidential office demanding the taxi driver be punished. More than 720,000 have signed the petition.

The taxi driver, who was three weeks into the job, quit work two weeks after the accident.

He was arrested on charges of assault and obstruction of business. Police are looking into whether it is possible for him to be charged with culpable homicide.

A taxi driver (C) suspected of intentionally blocking an ambulance carrying an emergency patient attends a hearing at the Seoul Eastern District Court in eastern Seoul on July 24, 2020. (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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