Brit arrested while climbing 555-metre skyscraper in just shorts and without safety ropes

12 June 2023, 11:07 | Updated: 12 June 2023, 13:25

George King-Thompson was arrested on the Lotte World Tower
George King-Thompson was arrested on the Lotte World Tower. Picture: Songpa Fire Station/Alamy/Instagram

By Kit Heren

A British man has been arrested after climbing halfway up the world's fifth-tallest building without safety measures and in just his shorts.

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George King-Thompson, 24, had reached the 73rd floor of the 123-storey Lotte World Tower in South Korea on Monday, when he was apprehended by authorities.

He had been climbing up the Seoul tower for more than an hour when he was forced to get into a maintenance cradle and lowered back to the ground.

King-Thompson, from Oxford, said he had hoped to escape the grasp of the Korean authorities and "get on a flight out of the country, immediately after performing the stunt."

Seoul newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that King-Thompson arrived in Korea three days ago, and stayed at a motel for one day before spending two nights on the street.

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George King-Thompson
George King-Thompson. Picture: Instagram

He reportedly told police: “It was a long-held dream to fly up to Lotte Tower, so I planned it six months ago.”

King-Thompson has often performed death-defying stunts, which he publicises them on social media.

He is best known for trying to climb the Shard in London, a stunt for which he was jailed for six months in 2019.

It took him 45 minutes to reach the top of the Shard, where he was met by police but not arrested.

London Bridge Station was briefly closed and King-Thompson later received a police caution after he was spotted on the side of the skyscraper at around 5am.

Read more: Teenager who climbed Shard locked up for 24 weeks

Read more: 'I thought I was going to die': Terrified plane passengers grip seats after man yanks open emergency door mid-flight

George King-Thompson was arrested while climbing the tower
George King-Thompson was arrested while climbing the tower. Picture: Songpa Fire Station

He appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice for civil proceedings brought by the building’s owners, Teighmore Ltd, who claimed he breached an injunction designed to deter trespassers, which was made by the High Court in 2018.

King-Thompson admitted being in contempt of court. Imposing an immediate custodial sentence, Mr Justice Murray said his breach of the injunction was "deliberate and knowing" and that "he would have walked past at least ten copies" of the order during his climb.

The judge added that "iconic buildings are sometimes the targets of terrorists", and that "information regarding ways into and around the building" could increase the risk to people living and working inside.

Man spotted climbing The Shard
King-Thompson spotted climbing The Shard. Picture: Twitter / Dave Williams

Sentencing King-Thompson to six months in a young offenders institution, he said that "despite his young age and previous good character, it is not a sentence I am able to suspend". King-Thompson was released after 12 weeks, half his sentence.

He also also climbed the 36-storey Stratosphere tower in east London, and was arrested by Spanish authorities in 2022 for base-jumping off Europe’s tallest roller-coaster.

The daredevil admitted breaking into the PortAventura theme park in northern Spain and parachuting from the top of the Red Force ride.