Six killed after S. Korean torches block, stabs fugitives

SEOUL, Oct 20, 2008 (AFP) - At least six people were killed and seven injured on Monday after a tenant mired in debt set fire to a lodging house in Seoul and attacked escaping residents with a knife, police said.

Police arrested the 31-year-old, identified only as Jeong, after the blaze at the low-rent five-storey building in the southern district of Nonhyeon.

Some 100 residents fled the morning blaze.

Police said five died from knife wounds and one was killed after jumping from the fume-filled building. They said the death toll could rise as some of the seven injured were in critical condition.

"The world ignores me. I no longer want to live," Jeong told police, according to detective Kim Gap-Shik who gave a briefing.

He said the jobless man was under mounting financial pressure after failing to pay the room rent, phone bills and fines.

He ignited flammable liquid in his room on the third floor and the blaze spread to other floors. Some 100 firefighters and 33 fire engines were called to the blaze.

Police were trying to identify the victims. Yonhap news agency said the tenants included some Chinese nationals as well as Koreans.

Source: AFP

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