Busan American Cultural Service building arson

Coordinates: 35°06′10″N 129°01′52″E / 35.102689°N 129.031176°E / 35.102689; 129.031176 The 1982 Busan arson attack or Busan American Council Fire Accidents (Hangeul: 부산 미국문화원 방화사건, Hanja: 釜山美國文化院放火事件) was an Anti-American attack against the United States Information Service building in Busan on 18 March 1982. The attack resulted in the death of a Dong-a University student who was studying in the building; three others were injured.[1]


In June 1982, 16 people were put on trial in Busan for involvement in the attack. Theology student Moon Pu-shik (23) admitted the arson charge, saying the fire was a protest against US support for the Chun Doo-hwan dictatorship, particularly the suppression of the Gwangju Uprising. The other defendants included journalist Kim Hyong-jang (32) and Reverend Choi Ki-shik (39) head of the Catholic education center in Wonju, who was accused of sheltering the attackers.[2] In August 1982 Kim Hyong-jang and Moon Pu-shik were sentenced to death for the arson, while Moon's wife Kim Un-suk (24) and Lee Mi-ok (21), were sentenced to life imprisonment.[1] Following pleas for mercy from the US and protests by Catholic and Protestant groups, Kim and Moon's death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in March 1983.[3] Their sentences were reduced to 20 years in 1988.[4][5] Moon Pu-shik was released from prison in 1988 after having served six years and nine months in prison.

The former USIS building now houses the Busan Modern History Museum.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "2 Sentenced to Death In Korean Arson Case". New York Times. 11 August 1982. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Political trial under way in Korea". New York Times. 15 June 1982. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Chun spares 2 doomed in Korean arson case". New York Times. 18 March 1983. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  4. ^ Freedom of Expression in the Republic of Korea. Human Rights Watch. 1988. pp. 78–9. ISBN 9780929692029.
  5. ^ "Seoul declares an amnesty but not for everyone". New York Times. 27 February 1988. Retrieved 14 May 2017.

External linksEdit