And you thought our politicians were badly behaved... South Korean opposition MP sets off TEAR GAS in parliament
Last updated at 4:30 PM on 22nd November 2011
Like the Taiwanese and even the Italians, South Korean politicians are famous for resolving disputes with the occasional parliamentary punch-up.
But opposition MP Kim Sun-Dong took things to a whole new level today when he set off a tear-gas grenade during a row over a trade deal with the United States.
In extraordinary scenes, smoke filled the chamber and MPs were forced to dive for cover.
The bizarre incident happened after the ruling party announced a surprise vote over the controversial deal infuriating their rivals.
Attack: Kim Sun-Dong of Korea's Democratic Labour Party sets off the tear gas canister in the National Assembly in an attempt to prevent the passing of a free trade agreement with the United States
Painful: The chairman holds his eyes as the gas takes effect. The trade agreement was eventually given the go-ahead after politicians voted overwhelmingly in its favour
Disorderly conduct: Opponents of the trade deal argue that it is weighed to heavily in favour of the U.S. and will not do enough to help ordinary South Koreans
As violence broke out with ruling party politicians forcing their way onto the parliamentary floor, Sun-Dong, of the Democratic Labour Party, detonated the tear gas canister and hurled it towards the chairman.
Security guards seized crazed Sun-Dong and dragged him, shouting and screaming, from the room.
And there was yet more fighting outside the building as protesters scuffled with with police.
Taiwan has for some time been the undisputed champion when it comes to parliamentary bust-ups staging two massive brawls in 2007 and 2009.
But this latest incident has set a new benchmark and will doubtless propel South Korea to the top of the league.
It is not the first time that the trade deal has sparked violence. In 2008, opposition lawmakers tried to smash their way into a barricaded committee room to stop the ruling party from introducing a debate.
Ratified: The ruling was passed about an hour after the attack. Trade between the two countries was worth an estimated $90 billion last year
The surprise vote to finally ratify the hotly-contested pact between the United States and Asia's fourth largest economy was a landslide 151 to 7 in favor.
For weeks opposition lawmakers had camped out in a committee room hoping to block the vote.
Trade between the two countries is worth an estimated $90 billion last year but some politicians felt the deal was weighed too heavily in favour of the U.S.
The ruling party, led by President Lee Myung-bak's, has a strong majority in the 295-seat parliament.
But with presidential and parliamentary elections due to be held next year they had been reluctant to push the deal through, concerned there would be a public backlash.
In the end the deal was approved less than an hour after the trouble broke out.