Arsonist sets fire to birth house of S.Korean president's father

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- One South Korean man set fire Thursday to the birth house of late President Park Chung-hee, father of incumbent President Park Geun-hye, as the scandal-hit president refrained from stepping down.

"(I) set it alight as President Park Geun-hye didn't resign," the 48-year-old arson suspect, identified only by his surname Baek, was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

The fire broke out at about 3:15 p.m. local time at the birthplace of Park's father in Gumi, North Gyeongsang province, some 260 km southeast of the capital Seoul. It was put out in 10 minutes.

The arsonist, who came from Suwon, just south of Seoul, earlier in the day, was apprehended by police near the site.

The fire destroyed the memorial hall of the birth house, which displayed portraits of Park's late parents.

The late military strongman took power in the 1961 military coup, but he was assassinated 18 years later by one of his closest aides.

Park Geun-hye has been struggling with the biggest political crisis she ever faced since her inauguration in February 2013.

Prosecutors branded Park as a criminal accomplice to her decades-long friend, Choi Soon-sil who was indicted on multiple counts including abuse of power and extortion.

South Koreans protested in huge numbers for five straight Saturdays to demand Park's resignation, but Park has refused a voluntary retreat, demanding the parliament propose legal procedures to let herself stand down.

[ Editor: meng ]


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