South Korean staged bomb blasts to cash in on stocks

Bomb blasts occurred in Seoul train station and at bus terminal on Thursday.

Last Updated: May 15, 2011, 14:08 PM IST

Seoul: A South Korean man staged two minor bomb attacks with homemade explosives in Seoul last week in an attempt to cash in on stock investments by affecting market sentiment, police said on Sunday.

The 43-year-old man surnamed Kim, arrested in connection with bomb blasts in Seoul train station and at an express bus terminal on Thursday, invested in financial products that allow him to gain when markets fall, police said.

"He invested 50 million won (USD 46,000) this month...and said he believed bomb explosions will send stock markets falling, given the concerns (of terrorism) after Osama bin Laden`s death," a police officer on the case told reporters.

Kim, an ex-convict who served four years in jail for robbery until last July, lost more than 300 million won in stock investments earlier this year, he said.

"We see no intention of political terror here... the suspect was just trying to affect market sentiment," said the Seoul police.

South Korea`s main stock market, the KOSPI, dropped 2.03 percent to close at 2,122.65 points on Thursday.

Kim hired two other men to buy explosive materials and put the time bombs made with butane gas canisters in luggage lockers at the main public transport hubs in the capital city.

No casualties were reported from the blasts that occurred about 30 minutes apart on Thursday morning and caused minor damage.

The rare explosions prompted a nationwide search of major public transport hubs involving police commandos and sniffer dogs.

The three suspects were arrested on Saturday after police examined footage from surveillance cameras and traced origins of explosive materials left at the scenes.

Acts of terrorism are extremely rare in South Korea, although North Korean agents have in the past carried out terror attacks on South Koreans overseas.

Bureau Report