Man climbs to the 72nd floor of a skyscraper with his bare hands


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A Briton was arrested after climbing more than half of the world’s fifth-tallest skyscraper in Seoul with his bare hands on Monday, authorities said.

More than 90 emergency responders, police officers and other personnel were dispatched to the 123-story and 555-meter (1,820-foot) Lotte World Tower after the man was seen scaling the building Monday morning, the Seoul Fire Department said in a statement with a statement.

The man, about 20, reached the 72nd floor, which is about 310 meters high, before officials took him to a gondola and took him inside the building, the statement said.

South Korean media identified the man as free climber George King-Thompson. He was reportedly carrying a parachute and told police he planned to BASE jump from the top of the building.

Firefighters and police initially confirmed neither the name nor the motive of the man.

King-Thompson was arrested in 2019 after climbing the Shard in London – at 310 meters (1,017 feet), Britain’s tallest skyscraper – after the building’s owners filed trespassing charges against him. He was sentenced to six months in prison and served three months.

In 2021, he scaled the 36-story Stratosphere Tower, a block of flats in the east London borough of Stratford, reaching the top in less than half an hour. He said he chose the building because he was shocked by the flash floods that recently hit the area and wanted to raise awareness of the seriousness of climate change.

Police confirmed that they had taken the man into custody but gave no further details.

Lotte Property & Development, which operates the tower, said the man suffered no major injuries. The statement from the fire department said he had suffered a laceration on the skin on his right knee.

Also in 2018, French climber Alain Robert, known as “Spiderman” for his daring stunt, was arrested after climbing the 75th floor of Lotte World Tower. Lotte officials said they heard he was eventually released and left South Korea after telling police they did not want to press charges of obstruction or trespassing.

Lotte Property & Development said company officials are expected to discuss what to do with the Briton.

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