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Busan police on hunt for unidentified Haeundae skyscraper jumpers

Feb. 20, 2024 - 17:05 By Song Seung-hyun

The Haeundae LCT The Sharp building (Newsis)

Busan police are looking after two unidentified individuals who allegedly parachuted from the 99th floor of a 104-story high-rise in Haeundae, Busan, last week.

According to investigators at Haeundae Police Station on Tuesday, the duo, suspected to be extreme jumpers, likely jumped from an observation deck located on the 99th floor of the Haeundae LCT The Sharp, after sneaking into the mixed-use building.

Charges of illegal trespassing are being considered by the authorities.

The police warned that such jumps pose a risk of serious injury to both passersby and people on Haeundae Beach below.

An investigation began following eye-witness reports Thursday of people parachuting from the beachfront building. Officers arriving at the scene couldn’t locate the jumpers.

Based on their investigation, they believe the individuals were BASE jumpers, who engage in the extreme sport of leaping with parachutes from four types of fixed objects -- buildings, antennas, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs), which compose the acronym BASE.

This is not the first time BASE jumpers targeted Haeundae’s 411-meter landmark.

In 2019, two Russians were banned from leaving Korea until they paid 5 million won ($3,700) in fines for BASE jumping from multiple structures, including the Haeundae LCT The Sharp.

Oh Yoon-sung, a professor of police studies at Soonchunhyang University, said that the penalty is insufficient, because the income typically generated by extreme stunts through content creation based on the act far exceeds the imposed fines.

Last year, British man George King-Thompson was apprehended 72 floors up while climbing Seoul's Lotte World Tower, the world's fifth-tallest building, without a rope. He faced trespassing and obstruction of business charges. In August, a Seoul court fined him 5 million won.