After summit, gun found at Incheon

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After summit, gun found at Incheon

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The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, which brought nearly 60 world leaders to the bustling South Korean capital, ended without any security threats to the two-day event.

At least that’s what security officials thought until they found a discarded pistol at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday.

The pistol triggered an emergency dispatch of a police swat team and the National Intelligence Service set up a joint investigation team with the military and police.

The pistol, loaded with14 bullets, was found in a men’s room trash bin near the check-in area on the top floor of the airport early Wednesday, a day after the summit ended. Security officials were concerned because 10 leaders attending the summit were still in the country for meetings, including bilateral meetings with President Lee Myung-bak. An emergency alert was sent to each of the security teams protecting the leaders.

The restroom was outside of the security check for passengers going to immigration.

The magazine of the pistol was marked “Italy 357,” meaning that it held 0.357-millimeter caliber bullets. That kind of magazine is often used with the Sig Sauer P229, a pistol carried by Lieutenant Horatio Caine, played by David Caruso, in the U.S. television series CSI Miami.

Security officials analyzed video from CCTV cameras in the airport, but couldn’t find any suspect. No leads were found suggesting the pistol was part of a plot against the South by North Korea and the emergency was cancelled.

Some analysts said the incident showed loopholes in the airport security system.

“We assume that a U.S. soldier returning home or a bodyguard accompanying one of the leaders during the summit ditched his weapon right before departure for fear of getting caught with a gun whose use was not authorized by the South Korean government.


By No Jin-ho [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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