Senior Korean mountaineer hits Nepalese host on the head at reception

An unbelievable happening took place at an international gathering to mark the opeing of the ‘Nepal House’ on 23th August.

Lee In-jung, 67,  president of the Korean Alpine Federation, hit K.P. Sitoula on the back of his head, throwing dirt at him. Sitoula, 44, is the president of the Nepalese Association in Korea and hosted the event.

It happend in the middle of the reception held to celebrate the opening of the facility in central Seoul. Lee came to this event to deliver a congratulatory address. Finishing his address in the early part of the event, Lee stood up to leave and put a cash envelop in the donation box before walking out of the exit. Sitoula followed Lee to see him off. Upon spotting Sitoula, Lee suddenly swore at Sitoula with unspeakable words and hit him on the head. Sitoula just smoothed his head with embarrassing smile. There were a few other Nepalis who looked at the happening.

Sitoula said “My phone broke down a few hours ago, so I couldn’t take any calls. Mr.Lee must have phoned me many times to ask the way to come to this place. I’m so sorry.” Lee must have gotton angry with it.

Lee is a relatively well-known figure in Korean society. Particularly, he is representing Korean mountaineering society. His relationship with Nepal is so deep as to serve as its honorary consul-general before Nepal opened the Embassy here in 2008.  Lee is also a successful businessman operating a company which manufactures computer components. He is noted for having contributed to the development of school sports in Korea. He is  a son-in-law of a noted Korean business tycoon LG family. Gu Tae-hoi, the honorary chairman of LS Cable & System, is his father-in-law.

Many Korean mountaineers have had inseparable relationship with Nepal due to the presence of the Himalayas in the country. That’s why many Nepalis are maintaining  close relationships with Korean mountaineers. Lee and Sitoula are believed to be among them. Lee must have come to the event considering his special relationship with the country

However, it was hard to dispel a notion that Lee was apparently making light of Nepalis at least at the moment. If not, how can he struck the head of the person who represents the Nepalis community in Korea. Lee was an invited guest to the event hosted by Sitoula. Lee might have a plausible reason to get angry with him. Even so, Lee should have avoided acting like that in such a special occasion. It was an insult to Nepalis living in Korea and a shame for Korean mountaineers.      

Lee should apologize to Sitoula.

Kim Nam-ju

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