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Man torches self in Hwang Woo-suk protest

Grisly end for stem cell supporter

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A South Korean man died on Saturday after dousing himself with paint thinner and setting himself on fire in support of disgraced stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk, Reuters reports. Shortly before his suicide in the centre of Seoul he distributed around 30 leaflets "calling for Hwang to carry on his studies".

The truck driver from the city of Pusan has been identified by his family name - Chung. The local Yonhap news agency says he was a member of the "I love Hwang Woo-suk" chat room, although he had not previously taken part in pro-Hwang rallies. He left a message in the chat room calling for "a gathering in Seoul on Saturday in support of the disgraced researcher".

Hwang claimed to have produced tailored stem cells, but it was found he and his team had fabricated the results. An investigation later showed he had indeed produced the world's first cloned dog, but the stem cell scandal finished Hwang's career. He now faces possible prosecution for misuse of state funds. Prosecutors raided his home last Thursday as part of the ongoing investigation. ®

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