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Briton who climbed Korean skyscraper expects ‘to spend month in jail’

George King-Thompson said he dreamt of his Lotte World Tower ascent while in prison for scaling The Shard in London in 2019.

A British man who was arrested while climbing the world’s fifth-tallest skyscraper in South Korea without a harness is expecting to spend the next month in jail, but is eager to climb again.

George King-Thompson, 24, was wearing a parachute and planned to jump from the top of the 123-storey, 1,820ft (555m) Lotte World Tower in Seoul on Monday, but reached the 72nd floor before being detained.

The 24-year-old, from Oxford, had dreamt of his South Korean ascent while in prison for scaling The Shard in London, according to a statement shared by his sponsor, and remained determined to fulfil his dream despite facing the courts.

George King-Thompson reached the 72nd floor of the building (Riot E-Liquid/PA)

“I’ve spent over two days in jail, and it looks like I could have to spend a month in prison before the court case,” Mr King-Thompson said.

Despite his arrest, Mr King-Thompson has compared his time in a South Korean jail with previous arrests and said: “I’ve had much worse jail cells.”

He added: “I often judge a country and its culture by the way the authorities treat me.

“I have nothing bad to say about the South Koreans. They have treated me with the utmost respect and diligence.

“The Koreans are simply the loveliest people I have ever met.”

Mr King-Thompson originally planned to parachute off the top of the Lotte World Tower then evade police and escape the country by plane before he was arrested, but maintains that he will fulfil his dream.

“My goal for the Lotte Tower was to perform an urban freebase – to climb to the top and jump off,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I did not achieve my dream in this mission.”

Mr King-Thompson said he did not reach the top of the skyscraper before his arrest due to “complications”.

“With every loss you learn everything and with a win you learn nothing,” he added.

“I’ll be wiser for this experience, and I will achieve my dream of climbing and flying off a skyscraper in the near future.

“Despite my current situation, I look forward to getting back in the harness, acquiring a new target and achieving my dream.”

According to his sponsor, Mr King-Thompson dreamed of performing the stunt while in Pentonville Prison for three months as punishment for scaling The Shard in July 2019.

In August 2021, the same year he was released from prison, Mr King-Thompson climbed the 23-storey Unex Tower in Stratford, east London, without ropes, nine days after doing the same at the neighbouring Stratosphere Tower.

Footage shared on Monday showed the climber in shorts scaling the tower in South Korea as 90 emergency, police and other personnel were dispatched to the scene, according to the local fire service.

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