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Motel arson suspect admits guilt, to face psychiatric assessment

The suspect in a Sunday arson attack at a motel in Gwangju that killed two people and injured 31 others will undergo profiler questioning, police said Monday.

Police on Sunday arrested the 39-year-old, identified only by the surname Kim, who was initially sent to a hospital after being found at the scene by a fire official. He was released from the hospital after medical staff confirmed he sustained no serious injuries.

Kim later told police he set the bedding on fire in a third-floor room at the motel, where he had checked in by himself, and left. He said when he returned to get his belongings, the fire had already spread.


As for his motives for the crime, police said he gave “incoherent answers.”

He told police he started the fire with suicidal intent. He also said he “heard voices” and that “people were after (him).”

Police said while Kim did not have a history of mental health issues, they will ask profilers for a psychiatric evaluation.

Kim is suspected of committing arson at a motel in a northern district of the city at around 5:45 a.m. Sunday, and then fleeing the scene before returning.

About 50 guests were at the five-story accommodation when the fire broke out.

Two died and at least 31 others were injured from the fire, with some in critical condition. Officials said the death toll could rise.

The suspect is currently detained at Gwangju Bukbu Police Station.

By Kim Arin (

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Korea Herald daum