Prosecutors seek arrest warrants for 7 college activists for breaking into U.S. ambassador’s residence

SEOUL-- Prosecutors said Sunday they have requested a Seoul court to issue arrest warrants for seven progressive college students on charges of breaking into the U.S. ambassador's residence.

Seventeen members of a progressive college student group used ladders to climb over the wall of the Habib House in Seoul on Friday afternoon.

The residence was vacant at that time, as Ambassador Harry Harris and his wife were away for a Cheong Wa Dae reception hosted by President Moon Jae-in.

Members of a progressive association of Korean university students stage a protest inside the residence of U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris in Seoul on Oct. 18, 2019, in this photo captured from the group's Facebook account. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The activists displayed banners reading "Harris leave this land," with two others having attempted to break into the compound. They were protesting Washington's call for Seoul to sharply increase its financial contribution to the presence of American troops in South Korea.

All 17 students were soon taken to police stations, and police sought arrest warrants for nine of them. After reviewing the results of a preliminary probe, prosecutors formally requested the court to permit the arrests of seven of them.

A prosecution official said, "It's difficult to reveal details related to the investigation," including the reason why investigators did not seek arrest warrants against the two trying to break into the compound.

The Seoul Central District Court will hold a hearing on Monday to decide whether to issue the warrant.

The students under detention are said to have refused to answer questions from the police during investigation.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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