Hearing old men getting pissed off in Korea is nothing new. One time when I attended an event in Gangnam and while waiting for a train at Seoljeollung station (on the new Bundang line), there was an old man shouting at two subway workers. The reason? He wanted to use the escalator but the two men were fixing it. They asked him to use the elevator instead but it made the old man angry and nagged at the two men for minutes. The men just ignored him and carried on with their work. I took a video of the incident but I deleted it a few days ago.
I had seen a few “shouting match” in the subway especially at night when drunk old men abound. When I was working at hagwons, I went home late in the evening but I never witnessed anything worse than shouting matches. Although there were incidences in the past of physical fight in the subway.
Seoul subway knife threat
The other day, on May 25th, a “knife threatening” incident happened in Seoul subway on Daerim station on line 7 and 2. It was around 8:12 pm, when a 49-year old man surnamed Mr. Lee wielded a knife at the subway workers and the passengers. (Daerim station is just so familiar to me ~ I worked nearby for 5 years!)
Apparently, Mr. Lee spat on the floor as the janitor told him not to spit ~ “침 뱉지 마라”. He got angry at the janitor so he took out a knife and threaten the subway workers and the passengers as well. In the video, he could be seen approaching the elevator where a student and an elderly couple were standing by. The student avoided him and then he was subdued.
Earlier that day, Mr. Lee drank seven bottles of soju (oh no! not another drunken excuse for the violence!) ~
In 2007, Mr. Lee was convicted of a similar incident ~ that of bringing a knife in the subway and threatening the passengers and subway workers. He was jailed for two years.
He is currently being investigated by the police. I still believe that Korea is relatively safe ~ but common sense will tell us to be cautious and alert whenever we go out.