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S. Korean Police Threatened to Storm Buddhist Temple

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Korean Confederation of Trade Unions President Han Sang-gyun, second from right, walks to turn himself in to the police at Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions President Han Sang-gyun, second from right, walks to turn himself in to the police at Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.

Nearly 1,000 Korean police threatened to storm a Buddhist Temple in Seoul Thursday where a fugitive claimed sanctuary.

Han Sang-gyun, the leader of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, took refuge in the Jogye Temple in downtown Seoul. He was accused of inciting violence during a labor rally on November 14. Han also was wanted for organizing illegal labor demonstrations in the past.

Han denied inciting any violence at any rally.

"I am not a murderer, a heinous criminal. ... I am a fired laborer," Han said Thursday.

Preparations for Han's appearance took place a day before the temple drama. The Buddhist leaders met with police Wednesday to allow more time to negotiate. The leaders also received a promise from police that the temple would not be stormed.

On Thursday, Han agreed to surrender to police despite a noon deadline.

There is no South Korean law preventing police from entering religious sites to carry out arrests. But authorities usually do not raid temples for arrests.

I'm Jim Tedder.

Brian Padden wrote this story for VOAnews.com in Seoul. Youmi Kim contributed to this report from Seoul. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

fugitive - n. a person who is running away to avoid being captured

sanctuary - n. a place where someone or something is protected or given shelter

rally - n. a public meeting to support or oppose someone or something

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