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American tourist faces investigation for graffiti spree on over 155 locations in Seoul

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An American man in his 30s is under investigation in South Korea for allegedly spray painting the term "bruxism" on 155 public facilities and private properties in Seoul's Yongsan district.

Wave of graffiti vandalism: The U.S. national, identified only as Mr. A in local news, is accused of graffitiing the term "bruxism" in both English and Korean on at least 155 locations, including private residences, tunnels, power poles, roads and buses.

The suspect initially committed the same act during his visit to the country last year and returned as a tourist in October to resume his graffiti spree.

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Impact on residents: The graffiti spree, which spanned Itaewon and Hannam-dong, raised concerns among residents as the markings appeared on various surfaces, including exterior walls, doors and electric poles. He was briefly detained for questioning by local police, who cited concerns about the vandalisms' impact on residents' peace of mind.

Mr. A, who adopted the moniker "igari" for his graffiti alter ego, told investigators that he simply wanted to raise awareness about the seriousness of his severe bruxism (a condition involving the grinding or clenching of teeth) and a sleep disorder. He emphasized its classification as a more severe condition than commonly perceived.

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In a plea for leniency during the warrant review, Mr. A assured authorities that he would rectify the remaining damage through methods such as painting or erasing with expert guidance.

No arrest warrant: The Seoul Western District Court dismissed the police department’s request for an arrest warrant on Nov. 20, considering Mr. A's acknowledgment of wrongdoing, his efforts towards restitution, the absence of flight risk and no imminent evidence tampering.

According to police reports, Mr. A utilized red spray paint and markers to make the graffiti difficult to remove. During the police investigation, he erased around 50 of his own paintings using a special chemical. While he is no longer under police custody, he is currently banned from departing the country as the case remains under investigation.

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