Climber Got to 72nd Floor Before He Was Arrested

South Korean authorities arrested British man halfway up world's 5th-tallest building
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 12, 2023 12:10 PM CDT
Climber Got to 72nd Floor Before He Was Arrested
This photo provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Management Headquarters shows a man climbing Lotte World Tower, the tallest skyscraper in the country, in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, June 12, 2023.   (The Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Management Headquarters, via AP)

A British man was detained after climbing more than halfway up the world’s fifth-tallest skyscraper with only his bare hands on Monday, authorities in Seoul say. More than 90 police and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the 123-story, 1,820-foot-tall Lotte World Tower after the man was spotted scaling the building on Monday morning, the Seoul fire agency said in a statement. The man, in his 20s, reached the 72nd floor, which is about 1,020 feet high, before officials took him to a gondola lift and moved him inside the building, the statement said. South Korean media identified the man as free climber George King-Thompson. The reports said he was carrying a parachute and told police that he wanted to BASE-jump from the top of the building.

King-Thompson was arrested in 2019 after scaling the Shard in London—the UK’s tallest skyscraper at 1,017 feet—after the owners of the building pressed charges against him for trespassing, the AP reports. He was sentenced to six months in prison and served three. In 2021, he climbed the 36-story Stratosphere Tower, a residential block in east London’s Stratford neighborhood, and reached the top in less than half an hour. He said he picked the building because he was shocked by the flash floods that recently hit the area and wanted to raise awareness to the seriousness of climate change.

The Lotte Property & Development, which operates the tower, said the man didn’t suffer any major injuries. The fire agency statement said he suffered a cut on his skin on the right knee. In 2018, French climber Alain Robert, known as "Spiderman” for his daring stunts, was also detained after climbing to the 75th floor of the Lotte World Tower. Lotte officials said they heard he was eventually released and left South Korea after they told police they didn’t want to press charges for obstruction or trespassing.

(More skyscraper stories.)

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