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[Newsmaker] Lawmaker’s aide says man who set himself on fire was ‘barbecued’

An aide to a ruling party lawmaker said on social media that a man who set himself on fire in front of the National Assembly building was “barbecued.”

A man in his 60s suffered third-degree burns and is now semiconscious after the car he was in caught fire outside the parliament building on the morning of Feb. 1. Fire authorities believe he set his car on fire.


An aide to Rep. So Byung-hoon of the Democratic Party, surnamed Lee, posted a photo on Instagram of the man lying on the ground next to his burned vehicle. Replying to other people’s comments, he wrote, “Barbecued.”

He also wrote “#jwibulnori,” a traditional Korean pest-control practice that involves setting fires in rice paddies.

The self-immolator had some 200 sheets of paper in his vehicle with messages written on them. The messages included: “The parliament is like the heart of the country, and it is causing arteriosclerosis.”

Lee wrote on Instagram: “The patriot said the parliament was the heart of the country, and he set fire to the heart. Happy New Year.”

The aide also wrote: “Ideologies or religions can be so scary, folks. These people don’t know the value of life.”

Upon becoming the target of criticism on Instagram, Lee made his Instagram account private and offered to resign from his post.

Before setting his car on fire, the man had distributed dozens of flyers with messages such as “Lawmakers’ privileges should be abolished” and “The parliament must be set right so the Republic of Korea can be born anew.”

Lee had served as a policy adviser on a committee on balanced development in 2017 at President Moon Jae-in’s election camp.

By Kim So-hyun (