SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday indicted a man who slashed the U.S. ambassador in Seoul last month on charges of attempted murder.
Kim Ki-jong, 55, was also indicted Wednesday on charges of assaulting a foreign envoy and obstruction, according to an official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, who did not want to be named, citing department rules.
South Korean law requires the trial to start within 14 days, and there is a possibility that it could start as early as next week, according to an official at the Seoul Central District Court, who didn't want to be named, citing office rules. He said it was too early to comment on the potential penalties Kim could face.
Prosecutors have also been investigating whether Kim violated a controversial law that bans praise or assistance for North Korea. The court official said it was possible prosecutors may add such charges against Kim during the trial.
Police say Kim attacked Ambassador Mark Lippert with a knife during a breakfast forum on March 5. He suffered deep gashes on his face and arm and was treated at a Seoul hospital for five days.
Police say Kim chose Lippert as a target to highlight his opposition to ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills. North Korea has angrily reacted to the drills, calling them an invasion rehearsal.
Anti-U.S. activists such as Kim have long blamed the presence of 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the South as a deterrent to the North for the continuing split of the Korean Peninsula.