(Reuters) - South Korea's embassy in Beijing is confirming reports that one of its athletes from the recent Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing was responsible for zapping Chinese Premier Li Keqiang with a laser pen.
Television pictures from last Thursday′s closing ceremony showed a beam of light flicking across Li's face as he waved to the crowd at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.
"It′s extremely improper and regrettable to shine a laser pointer on state leader," the embassy posted on Chinese microblog Weibo. "This should not have happened."
The sporting competition involved almost 4,000 athletes aged between 14 and 18 and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was among the 60,000-strong crowd at the closing ceremony.
Laser pens have become something of a menace at major events, with world soccer's governing body FIFA fining Algeria 50,000 Swiss francs ($56,400) after its fans shone lasers at players during the World Cup Group H game against Russia.
Television images showed a green light, typical of the kind generated by laser pens, being shone in the direction of Russia's goalkeeper before Algeria's equaliser in the 1-1 draw.
"Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal," said Fabio Capello, Russia's coach at the World Cup.
"He was blinded by a laser, there are photos, films of it."
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was targeted with a green laser pen during his side's Champions League win over Steaua Bucharest late last year, while in 2012 a fan was arrested at a Major League Baseball game after shining a laser on a pitcher.
Writing by Peter Rutherford in Seoul; Editing by Patrick Johnston