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American investigated for ‘teeth grinding’ graffiti across Yongsan

Nov. 27, 2023 - 14:21 By Lim Jae-seong
Graffiti that reads "igari," which means bruxism, or teeth grinding, is seen at multiple places in Yongsan, central Seoul. (Yongsan Police Station)

An American in his 30s was caught by the police for writing “igari,” which means bruxism -- more commonly known as teeth grinding -- on at least 155 public facilities and properties in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul.

The Yongsan police said Monday it was investigating what it called the “igari graffitist,” who wrote "igari" in both Hangeul and English on tunnels, power poles, roads and buses among others, after nabbing him on Oct 25.

He is also suspected of writing the word on private properties, including gates of residential buildings.

The man began painting the word after he entered Korea in October 2022. He resumed his graffiti after returning to Korea as a tourist last month.

An undated photo of the word "igari" painted on a wall in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul (Yongsan Police)

The man used paint or marker to make it difficult to erase, but he reportedly said he erased some 50 paintings by himself using a special chemical in the police investigation.

The photos and videos of his works were shared via his social media accounts, where he called himself “igari.”

The suspect admitted that he was the igari graffitist, saying that he wanted to raise public awareness of the condition. He reportedly told police that he suffers from both severe bruxism and a sleep disorder.

Police banned the suspect from departing the country and launched an investigation without detention, as the court denied his arrest warrant on Nov. 20.