The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: foreigner crime (page 1 of 4)

Ladies, be careful of foreign guys offering you drinks: Dong-A Ilbo

The Dong-A Ilbo warns ladies to be careful of foreigners offering you drinks.

In May, a young man by the name of Kim got a urgent Kakao Talk from a female acquaintance of his who’d gone to a club in Yongsan. She was passing out and worried something might happen to her. He went to the club, found her passed out and surrounded by two foreigners, and rescued her. The next day, she told him that the foreigners gave her something to drink which had apparently been spiked.

She was rescued, but the Dong-A reports that there are women, defenseless against foreigners will ill-intent, who have been sexually assaulted. For instance, on Sept. 10, a 20-year-old woman was sitting at a Gangnam club with two foreign guys and a Korean guy. They gave her a drink which they’d spiked with sleeping pills. They brought her to a nearby motel, where they began filming parts of her anatomy with a cellphone. When she protested, they beat her. After a two week investigation, the cops arrested three guys for sexual assault, including a French guy and some model.

The Dong-A warns that there’s been a string of cases of foreigners sexually assaulting young women at clubs. What these assaults have in common, says the paper, is that the perps think Korean girls are easy, and they make ill use of Korean girls’ expectations about meeting an exotic stranger.

The reporter went to a Gangnam club on Oct. 8 and saw—and no, I’m not shitting you, this is what he wrote—some foreign guys constantly checking out the bodies of Korean girls or directly going up to girls, putting their arms around them and talking to them. One white American guy in his 30s apparently told the reporter that his friends say it’s easy to make a Korean girl your girlfriend, and if a foreigner sexually assaults a girl, it’s because there’s a widespread feeling that Korean girls are easy. Foreigners who might mistakenly believe they are sexually superior use the vague expectations some women might have about foreigners to satisfy their sexual desires. Some police science professor at Konkuk University told the Dong-A that women who, seeing the foreigners who appear in overseas movies, develop romantic ideas about foreigners or a curiosity in the exotic, may let their guard down easy, putting them in great danger of being sexually assaulted.

Ahem.

That it’s relatively difficult for cops to find foreign criminals is also a factor, says the Dong-A. One club manager told the paper that some particularly wicked foreigners who bring drugs in think that if they get caught, they can just run back to their home countries. Police say it’s hard to track down foreign sex criminals since it’s difficult to find where they live and they often use rental phones. A police official said since it’s hard to manage foreigners’ personal information, foreign criminals are sometimes ID’d only after they’ve fled back home. He said the police need a systemic management system and hire more foreign affairs guys who can handle foreign criminals.

Random Crap…

…Uncle Marmot might have found interesting if he had had the time.

A Ewha University student, Kim Seo-Yeon, won the Miss Korea 2014 pageant and will represent the Korea in the Miss World 2014 scheduled for December in London.  The Korea Herald noted that “Kim boasts her Western-style figure ― she is 172.8 centimeters tall and weighs 52.4 kilograms.”  Directly quoting and referencing the Korea Herald statement, US based Cosmopolitan wrote about 7 Things That Happen in a Korean Pageant That Would NEVER Happen in an American Pageant  including “contestants’ weights as well as their chest, waist, and hip measurements are posted on the official Miss Korea website…. Which legitimate news outlets later discuss.” 

Gusts of Popular Feeling commented on a report in the JoongAng Ilbo that the Seoul Central District Court had sentenced former NET Quincy Black to two years and six months in prison for “contravening the Law for the protection of children and youth by producing and distributing pornography.”  According to Gusts, “if Quincy Black’s sentence seems light, the Kyunghyang Sinmun states that one reason for the relatively lax sentence is that he deposited 9 million won for his victims.”

The JoongAng Ilbo reported that prosecutors indicted Seoul Metropolitan Councilman Kim Hyung-sik for arranging the murder of a “wealthy 67-year-old businessman and landowner who allegedly paid him kickbacks for political favors and was threatening to expose him.” Wealthy businessman Song allegedly paid Kim W520,000,000 (approx. USD 500,000) for Kim’s “help with the rezoning of Naebalsan-dong from residential to commercial use. …In fact, the area was not eligible for rezoning, which Kim knew but did not reveal to Song.”  …Oh, the double duplicity.

A South Korea-born former Iowa State university scientist, Han, pleaded not guilty to charges alleging that he falsified research for an AIDS vaccine to secure millions of dollars in federal funding. “According to the indictment, Han’s misconduct caused colleagues to make false statements in a federal grant application and progress reports to NIH. The NIH paid out $5 million under that grant as of last month. …Experts say it is extremely rare for criminal charges to be brought in cases of scientific fraud, but that Han’s alleged wrongdoing was extraordinary.” Han seems to have also imported another peculiarity, the wheelchair strategy. “I’m sorry to hear about your car accident and I‘m glad you’re out of the hospital,‘’ Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer said.

Will the farmer who stumbled upon Yoo Byeong-Eon’s remains collect the W500 million bounty for reporting the discovery?  “…many legal experts believe the man, identified as Park, will not be able to get entire W500 million because he reported to the police without knowing that the body was Yoo’s.  …Police directives stipulate that reward money can be paid to anyone who contributes to the capture of a criminal. A prosecution official said, ‘The criminal does not have to be alive for the person who reported it to get a reward, but in this case he will be able to get it only if he suspected that the body was Yoo’s and gave meaningful help to investigators.'”

Compounding a compounded matter for authorities, a leaked photo (do you really need a warning?) of Yoo’s heavily decomposed body went “viral through portal websites and mobile instant messengers, prompting the police to launch an investigation into the person who leaked the photo.  ‘The leaked photo is part of the investigative filings by police,’ admitted an official of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, who requested anonymity. ‘The cyber crime division of the Seoul Police Agency is going after the leaker.’ ”

The Sewol Ferry Tragedy/Yoo Byeong-Eon investigation claimed more casualties and has dominated the news.  On Tuesday, Suncheon (site where Yoo’s body was found in a plum field) police chief Woo Hyung-Ho got sacked by his superiors who did not appreciate his frankness for comping to a botched investigation.  Following Woo’s dismissal, the head of Jeonnam Provincial Police Agency Jeong Soon-do was relieved from his position Wednesday.

Thursday (yesterday) Choi Jae-kyung, chief of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office and the senior prosecutor leading the investigations into Yoo and the ferry’s sinking, tendered his resignation  for bungling both to Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae.  “Choi, 51, is a veteran prosecutor who built a reputation by leading a series of high-profile corruption cases. He handled slush fund cases involving Hyundai Motors in 2006 and the Lone Star tax evasion case in 2007, which earned him the nickname ‘the Best Blade.’ He also led investigations into bribery cases involving the elder brother of late President Roh Moo-hyun and Park Yeon-cha, chairman of Taekwang Industry Co.”

The Korea Herald reported today that Choi’s superiors, the justice minister and chiefs of the two major law enforcement agencies, have been pressured to step down from their posts.  “Lawmakers say that Choi’s superiors should also be held accountable. Among the targeted officials are Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Prosecutor General Kim Jin-tae and National Police Agency Commissioner General Lee Sung-han.”  All this on top of the prime minister who had resigned only to be asked to stay on “because the presidential office [couldn’t] find a qualified third candidate for the job”, leading frequent MH poster bumfromkorea to exasperate “don’t tell me they didn’t have anyone else left after they filtered the ‘corruption’ and ‘Pro-Empire’ categories out.”  

Today, Korean authorities took the extraordinary step and held a nationally televised press conference to announce the findings of Yoo Byeong-Eon’s autopsy in finally an effort to appear transparent.

All this makes me wonder what the gift that keeps on giving… or taking… will bring tomorrow?

It’s been a rough week.

Canadian accused of sex with minor in Cambodia may have molested minors in Korea, too: report

Remember how we mentioned a long-time expat here recently got busted in Cambodia for allegedly paying a 14-year-old boy for sex?

Well, according to John Power in Groove, this story might be worse. Much worse:

A former native English teacher in Korea currently facing charges of paying a 14-year-old boy for sex in Cambodia was previously arrested in Seoul on suspicion of fondling a boy and had a history of sexual activity with minors, according to former friends and a recorded conversation.

If the allegations made in the report are true, it would mean a lot of folk really dropped the ball here, including the cops (“I overheard cops laughing about who was going to have to talk with the foreigner”) and possibly the foreign community of Haebangchon:

Savoy added that the allegations against V**** were widely known among foreigners in Haebangchon.

“People talked indignantly but did nothing. I’m excluding a few people from this, including myself as well as anyone else who actually reacted towards a solution, but the general response seemed to be that the shock was public property while justice was an unrelated taboo,” he said in an email.

Why would justice be such a “taboo” in this case?

Foreigners busted for drugs, complain of loneliness and stress in Korea

- Prosecutors in lovely Daegu have booked and detained six folk, including a Brit teaching at a local middle school and a Yank hagwon teacher, on charges of smuggling/using “new drugs,” in this case Spice and DMT.

Some 12 other folks, including a USFK dependent and a Canadian hagwon teacher, were booked without detention on the same charges.

Police accuse the motley crew of smuggling the drugs from China and the Netherlands using—sit down for this—international mail and either taking it themselves or selling it to other foreigners.

By nationality, nine were Americans, followed by four Koreans, two Canadians and one Brit, Australians and Kiwi. Personally, I blame the state of Colorado.

The accused reportedly told investigators during questioning that the started taking drugs to “alleviate the loneliness and stress of life in Korea.”

Oh, and speaking of foreign crime, Statistics Korea’s latest report on social trends show that the gap between foreigner and domestic crime rates are closing—the Korean rate of criminality is just 1.8 times that of foreigners. And to make matters worse, foreign criminals tend to be more violent—murder accounted for 0.59% of crimes committed by foreigners in 2010, five times the Korean rate. The rate for mugging was four times higher.

English teachers get their own editorial in the Kukmin Ilbo

The recent deportation of an American English teacher suspected of sexually assaulting a minor in the United States eight years ago inspired the Kukmin Ilbo to pen an editorial on the English teacher menace.

Namely, the paper notes that the current E-2 visa system checks only to see if you’ve been convicted of a crime; it does not check if you’re wanted on suspicion of want. This means murders and rapists could run away to Korea to teach English and nobody would know. The drug check, too, determine whether you’ve done drugs only within the two weeks prior to the test. There has also been a lack of info sharing between investigative bodies like the cops and educational authorities despite what the paper describes as an endless string of drug offenses by foreign English teachers; this lack of sharing makes managing the foreign teacher population difficult.

The bigger problem, says the paper, are the unqualified teachers who enter Korea on tourist visas. Demand for teachers outstrips supply—there are currently about 20,000 foreigners in Korea on E-2 visas, but the number of foreigners teaching English is reportedly far greater. Anyway, the Kukmin Ilbo thinks the government needs to tighten up the foreign teacher hiring and oversight system and wants to see effective measures taken.

The Dong-A Ilbo has more on the case. According to them, the American—who’d been teaching in the Jeollabuk-do area for eight years—was wanted in the States on charges of sexually assaulting a female relative under 12 at his home four times in 2003. A commenter at GI Korea seems to think he knows the guy and give much more detail, but all the caveats about anonymous commenters apply.

Suspected American pedophile caught in Korea

This is just great:

An American man suspected of sexually abusing minors in the United States has been arrested in South Korea after an eight-year-long international manhunt, police here said Friday.

The 44-year-old suspect, whose identity has been withheld, is suspected of raping minors in the U.S. state of Kentucky four times between August and October 2003, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA).

The suspect entered South Korea in 2004 via Thailand, the SMPA said, adding that he has since been working as an English tutor at private institutions, elementary schools, and universities in the southwestern Jeolla provinces, it added.

Amazing Raylan Givens hadn’t caught him earlier.

Now, you’d think the tightened E-2 regs would have prevented something like this. Apparently not, though:

한편 지난 2010년 7월 회화지도 강사에 대한 사증발급지침 변경으로 비자신청시 범죄경력조회서가 요구되자 A 씨는 지난해 9월께 미국 범죄경력조회서를 FBI(미 연방수사국)로부터 우편으로 발급받아 제출한 것으로 알려졌다. 하지만 이 조회서엔 확정된 판결만 기재될 뿐 수사중이거나 수배된 사실은 기록되지 않아 E-2비자 재발급에 아무런 문제가 없었던 것으로 확인됐다.

외국인 출입국 관리와 회화지도 자격 비자 발급에 큰 허점이 드러난 셈이다.

So, just so we’re clear, you’re saying the FBI criminal checks teachers are supposed to submit DON’T include whether the guy is wanted or under investigation? Seriously?

The Korean cops are saying he hasn’t done anything in Korea and that they’ll simply extradite the guy to the United States. Frankly, though, given that a) he’s been in the country since 2004, and b) if the charges are true, he enjoys raping children, I find it hard to believe he didn’t do anything here. I hope the cops thoroughly investigate every aspect of this guy’s life for the last eight years before turning him over to the Americans.

When pot, gyopos and USFK mail collide

Seoul’s Finest have busted a Korean-American by the name of Park for not only turning his Yongsan home into an indoor pot farm, but also using USFK mail to smuggle pot in from the United States (HT to Mryouknowwho).

Park was growing 57 pot plants at him home, where he built in indoor greenhouse. Even had CCTV cameras installed for security.

According to MBC, Park had been deported from the United States after getting busted for marijuana possession. Personally, I find this difficult to believe—if beating your girlfriend and then getting fingered by Russian intelligence as a possible jihadi isn’t enough to get you thrown out of the United States, I can’t imagine ICE showing a Korean dude the door toking up.

Park is claiming he was growing it for his own personal consumption since life’s been tough and growing it is cheaper. Plus, it’s got that whole DIY hispter cool factor.

Park was caught with 435 grams of gear, enough to sell to 8,700 people. He’d also been using USFK’s post system—which receives easier screenings by customs and is punished lighter for violations (or so says MBC)—to smuggle pot in.

Four months ago, a former GI was arrested for using USFK mail to smuggle in some new sort of drug.

A customs official at Incheon International Airport said with drug smuggling via USFK mail on the rise, USFK and the customs office were closely cooperating. Last year, Incheon Airport customs caught 2,800 grams of drugs being smuggled through USFK mail, over seven times the amount of the previous year.

Breaking Bad Korea?

Late last week Cheol-su Law busted a gang composed of Australians and Koreans who are accused of operating a meth lab in Incheon.

A Korean guy went around to about 300 drugstores in the greater Seoul area to buy cold medicine, from which an Australian cook extracted the materials he needed to cook meth in a lab set up in a factory building in an industrial area of Incheon.

They’d produced about 33 billion won of product (10 kg). Which, if I’ve got my numbers right, is about US$29 million. Which really does seem like Walter White territory.

Judging from the news reports, a lot of this product was being moved to Australia—because of Korea’s relatively drug-free reputation, mules coming in on flights from Korea apparently have an easier time slipping by Hojustani customs. In fact, this case was broken open when an Australian drug mule got busted at Incheon with a shit load of meth wrapped around his body.

Police have so far arrested a Korean and Australian and are looking for three other Australians. They’ve also let the Australian police know who they are looking for.

(HT to Hamel)

What? You mean having consensual sex with a Korean woman is NOT a sex crime?

Matt over at Gusts of Popular Feeling has been all over the JoongAng Ilbo and its TV station for some articles and a TV program on foreign crime.

I’m going to link to his most recent post, but it’s got the rest of the series linked at the top.

BTW, dear readers, don’t try this at home:

I’d also like to say Solbi‘s role in all this, while regrettable, is easily forgiven because she’s hot. She doesn’t look like Jessica Alba, though, unless by Jessica Alba, you mean “charmingly plump Korean girl with a great rack,” in which case yes, she looks exactly like Jessica Alba.

GI arrested after showing woman porn in elevator

SBS reports that a 22-year-old USFK private has been arrested in Pyeongtaek after he allegedly followed a young Korean woman into an elevator and suddenly showed her a lewd video on his mobile phone yesterday afternoon.

They were the only two on the elevator at the time.

Frightened, she tried to hit the emergency bell, but the GI grabbed her wrist to stop her. He then ran off. Or so it is alleged.

The whole incident took 10 seconds.

Fortunately, police were able to use the CCTV footage to identify the (allegedly) pervy perp. When questioned by the cops, he strongly denied the charges, but when confronted with the CCTV footage, he exercised his right to silence. Or so it be reported.

After questioning, he was handed over to the American MPs. Police will continue to investigate.

UPDATE: The Dong-A’s TV channel has some video footage of the perp, but sadly not the CCTV footage.

UPDATE 2: And here’s the CCTV footage (God bless the Chosun Ilbo).

USFK contractor arrested for threatening Korean motorist with a knife / Osan MPs allowed to leave Korea

A Korean-American chopper mechanic working for USFK has been arrested by Pyeongtaek police after he allegedly threatened a Korean motorist with a fishing knife (HT to Charles Reeder).

According to the cops, the suspect—identified as Mr. J (48)—nearly hit the car of a one Mr. Choe (42) on the road near Oseong IC.

J stopped his car and got into an argument with Choe. Unable to control his anger, J got out of his car, took out a fishing knife from his trunk, and waved it several times at Choe through the half-open passenger-side window, curing as he did so.

Feeling threatened, Choe tried to pull away, but J gave chase, scratching Choe’s car with his knife twice.

Choe then got out of his car, picked up a rock and protested, “What’s your problem? I’m a Korean cop.” At which point J fled.

Or so it has been “confirmed,” says Yonhap, quoting mostly from the police.

Choe called the cops, and J was stopped by police 15 minutes later. The police say J did not resist arrest and confessed everything.

During the investigation, J testified that he had felt endangered when Choe’s car came at him from the opposite direction as he tried to make a U-turn on the left-turn light. Police plan to use the cars’ blackboxes and nearby CCTV footage to determine who did what and hand out fines.

A USFK contractor, J reportedly served in the US military for 16 years.

As he falls under the SOFA, he was turned over to US MPs after the arrest.

Interestingly enough, J’s family are complaining that J was treated unfairly during the investigation on account of his US citizenship.

In a phone call with Yonhap, J’s wife claimed he was being treated like a criminal because of anti-Americanism and that the cops only listened to Choe’s side of the story and didn’t ask her husband a single thing at the station.

She also said it was Choe who started the whole thing by nearly killing her husband by running the light, and that it was Choe who threatened her husband with a rock as he lie on the ground, haven fallen when Choe suddenly pulled away as J was holding the passenger seat side of Choe’s car.

It’s all so unfair, she said.

Luckily, we have some video footage of the incident, courtesy Dong-A TV.

Would love to see the entire footage to get a better idea of what happened. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if both sides are at fault, nor would it surprise me that after BB and the Gang, the KNP isn’t being especially courteous to USFK personnel who get arrested. Oh, and is Choe really a cop? If not, is claiming to be a cop illegal?

Then again, the cops say he admitted everything (and in the video, he does say he pulled out a knife), and it wouldn’t surprise me if J’s wife is just playing the police bigotry card.

Either way, though, can somebody explain to me why ANYONE attached to USFK would be pulling out a knife on a Korean civilian NOW? Is USFK aiming for some sort of political Darwin Award?

And in other fun USFK-related news, it has been learned that some of the seven American MPs involved in last year’s incident in which three Korean civilians were handcuffed near a US base in Pyeongtaek left Korea between late last year and recently. Prosecutors allowed the GIs to leave after getting from the US military written confirmations and guarantees that the suspects would appear for questioning whenever prosecutors asked, but it’s unlikely to make many people happy and controversy is expected.

A couple of morning links on thuggish GIs

- The Hani reports that the female soldier, a 22-year-old corporal, testified to the cops that she is the one who shot the BBs in Itaewon. She said she did so for fun. The guy who owned the car, the staff sergeant, apparently carried in his car three BB guns, which were purchased in Itaewon last year. Anyway, there is now suspicion that the three may have regularly shot BBs at locals for fun. The cops think the other two shot BBs that evening, too, but they deny it so far. And yeah, the two corporals are saying the staff sergeant was the driver, and the staff sergeant is saying the corporal who got shot was driving.

– The Kyunghyang Shinmun notes that while the number of US troops in Korea have decreased from 39,997 in 2004 to 28,500 currently, the number of crimes committed by GIs has increased from 324 to 379. 2011 was an especially bad year with 456. The secretary general of the National Campaign for Eradication of Crimes by U.S.Troops in Korea told the Kyunghyang that the number of crimes committed by GIs decrease when public opinion turns south, indicating that if USFK authorities properly control their men, they can reduce the number of crimes. Personally, I’m skeptical of whatever the National Campaign for Eradication of Crimes by U.S.Troops in Korea says, and I’m guessing a substantial amount of the increase in crime comes from USFK’s relaxation of driving restrictions in 2008. That said, yeah, it seems that angry Koreans=fewer GI crimes, which suggests USFK can improve off-base discipline when it wants to.

– MBC ran an interview with a HUFS professor to discuss the SOFA. As expected, he complained that the Korea—US SOFA is not as favorable to Korea as America’s SOFA agreements with Japan and NATO countries—he cites that other SOFAs make it easier for local cops to take possession of suspects that flee onto US bases, and the SOFA with Japan allows cops to interrogate suspects even without the presence of a US military official. However, the professor also noted that the Korea—US SOFA includes “excessive privileged” for defendants, including protections against prosecutors appealing acquittals. It’s a longish interview that probably deserves a fuller summary, but I think that point is important because I can’t see any way USFK allows its men to be subject to double jeopardy. Making it easier for the Korean cops to take possession and detain GI suspects is another matter, though, and frankly, I’d have no problem even allowing Korean cops the right to ‘hot pursuit.”

– And indeed, Korean government officials are now saying they will begin discussions with the United States, possibly from the end of this month, to revise the SOFA to make it easier for Korean police to detain GI suspects and expanding the number of crimes subject to transfer at indictment. They Koreans also want to reduce the scope of what constitutes USFK’s “execution of duties,” mostly because of last year’s incident in Osan in which USFK MPs handcuffed local civilians. That matter is being delayed because the MPs are claiming this happened while they were on duty, giving USFK primary jurisdiction.

USFK cretins appear before police. Well, two of ‘em, anyway.

So, this Sgt. Lopez creature and his wife appeared before Yongsan police yesterday afternoon, where according to KBS, they admitted to most of the charges against them.

The other cretin, a one Pvt. Dixon, has yet to be questioned as he’s still in the hospital with a gun shot wound to the shoulder.

If it’s shown that they did fire BB guns at civilians, they could face additional charges.

KBS also notes the rising GI crime rate. In recent years, GIs have been responsible for over 300 crimes a year, of which only 6% result in indictments. Most are given non-prosecution dispositions, and because of this, GI crimes sometimes ignite anti-American feelings. KBS notes that SOFA rules make it difficult for Korean cops to secure GIs accused of crimes when they fail to arrest them in the act. The broadcaster also notes that many point to the light punishments handed out to GIs who commit crimes and poor measures to prevent recurrences as the reasons for continuing GI crimes, and the answer is to revise the SOFA.

OK, I’m going to be honest here. There are things both sides could do to keep crime down—the stricter pre-2008 nighttime curfew seemed to reduce crime rates, and judging from some of the crime reports I see, I wonder if USFK is doing enough to instill in its men and women a sense of respect for the locals. Come on guys, 300 crimes a year? Sure, a lot of it is small stuff (hence the non-prosecution dispositions), but even little shit adds up.

You’ll never reduce the crime rate to zero in a population of 25,000 with lots of young men, however. The poor, stupid and criminally psychotic will always be with us.

I’m also not convinced that strengthening SOFA will solve anything. Judging from the stories I’ve read over the years, it seems the cops and prosecutors aren’t especially keen to exercise the authority they’ve already got under SOFA—see the 2005 Uijeongbu Beer Bottle Maiming Case to see what I mean. In recent years, Korean prosecutors appear to be more aggressive in going after the serious stuff, but perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the KNP to go Rudy Giuliani on USFK and begin breaking balls over the petty shit, a.k.a. broken windows. If your indictment rate is just 6%, whose fault is that?

UPDATE: Congrats, USFK—you got yourselves an editorial in the Chosun Ilbo.

To sum up the important part, yes, we know that since 2002, USFK has been working hard to contain incidents, quickly apologizing every time a GI does something criminal. GIs are still committing over 300 crimes a year, however—just last month, six GIs sexually harassed a young Korean women on the Uijeongbu tram, after which the base commander visited Uijeongbu to apologize and pledge that incidents like this would not happen again.

Over the last five years, GIs have committed about 2,200 crimes, but in only four of these did the Korean cops get to detain the suspects while they investigated. Because of the SOFA, it’s almost impossible for Korean cops to get GI suspects delivered unless they catch them in the act.

Ye Olde Chosun called on USFK to actively cooperate with the police investigation and use the opportunity to craft a plan to fundamentally reduce the amount of mischief committed by its men. If this doesn’t happen, Koreans will inevitably call for revisions to the SOFA no matter how much the American and Korean authorities explain the meaning and necessity of the agreement.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Hani also ran an editorial on the incident. As expected, they note that because of the SOFA, the Korean side is unable to conduct proper investigations—even the 2001 revision merely allowed Korean cops to take possession of a suspect from the point of indictment instead after the trial… and for just 12 kinds of crimes at that. Anyway, the Hani’s tired of the constant apologies followed by slaps on the wrist.

My personal favorite editorial on the matter was courtesy the Dong-A Ilbo, which opened right away by noting that this incident was brought about because American GIs hold Korean cops in contempt—the GIs in question know full well if they’d pulled this stunt in the United States the cops would have shot to kill.

The Dong-A was also unhappy about USFK asking the Korean cops to delay their questioning of the driver because he’s on painkillers, which they regard as less-than-enthusiastic cooperation with the Korean cops. They probably offer the best advice out of all the papers—US military authorities need to beef up their training on off-base activities and instill a sense of respect for Korean law and the Korean authorities.

Now, I’m no USFK authority, but I’m doing what I can in a private capacity to bolster the American fighting man’s respect for Korean law:

UPDATE 2: I just dig the soundtrack:

Oh, and according to the Chosun, the two admitted to shooting BBs. And from the KT:

One U.S. soldier admitted Monday that he and two colleagues shot a Korean civilian with a BB gun, hit a policeman with a car and ran away on a rampage in Itaewon on Saturday night, police said.
[…]
A second suspect identified by police by her first name “Wendy” appeared at the station at 6:00 p.m. Police said that they suspect the 21-year-old corporal shot the BB gun at a Korean citizen surnamed Ahn based on testimony by Ahn and other police officers who approached them.

GIs go Grand Theft Auto in Itaewon, one gets shot

Yongsan, we have a problem:

An American soldier was in stable condition Sunday after being shot by South Korean authorities during a late-night car chase, police said Sunday.

According to Seoul’s Yongsan Police Station, police received calls shortly before midnight Saturday that two American soldiers, including the injured, were threatening civilians with an air gun in the multicultural district of Itaewon.

The two U.S. soldiers were approached by Seoul police near Itaewon Station, but they refused to identify themselves and fled in a vehicle, leading to the car chase through the capital city.

When they came to a dead end in southeastern Seoul, police fired off a warning shot and three rounds of bullets as the vehicle tried to rush through police officers despite warnings. The car’s driver was hit by one of the bullets and another officer was slightly injured in the process, according to police.

BB guns, high-speed chases, running down police officers… I’d say that’s a pretty full night on Freedom’s Frontier.

Read the Korean-language reports here and here.

(HT to bumfromkorea)

UPDATE: Here’s some video footage (HT to the Sanity Inspector):

UPDATE 2: Here’s GI Korea’s take on it. Commenter Bobby Ray’s analysis of the situation is worth reading.

UPDATE 3: The woman in the car is reportedly the wife of the staff sergeant. When you think about it, causing mayhem in the heart of a foreign capital is a rather adorable couple thing to do. I just hope they were wearing couple shirts when they did it.

The couple, BTW, will be appearing at Yongsan Police Station for questioning today. The private who was driving the car—a.k.a. the guy who got shot—is unable to appear for question due to his shoulder wound. When this braintrust made it back to base, they apparently told US military authorities that an Arab gunman had shot the one guy and stole their car.

No word yet on whether they were drunk, high, sociopathic or just criminally stupid.

UPDATE 4: TK writes this on his blog:

So, to reiterate: a foreign army is occupying the middle of the city, and some of them are dumbasses who were threatening civilians with guns, engaged in a late night car chase, tried to kill a police man and got away with only injuring him in the process. And Koreans cannot do anything about it unless USFK voluntarily turns the soldiers over, and good luck getting that to happen.

Try putting the shoe on the other foot here, and imagine something like this happening, say, in the middle of Manhattan around once a month. How fast do you think somebody in America to say, “fuck these people”? How long do you think it would take before a celebrity singer, who lets his emotion run high and does not quite think things through, makes a song about killing them?

Hey, at least the Mongolian didn’t seem to start it

The Maeil Gyeongje’s Internet TV ran another piece on how the rise in crime in neighborhoods with lots of foreigners has the locals living in fear.

Nothing you haven’t seen before, although it does got some cool footage of a rumble between a Russian and a Mongolian in a sauna near Dongdaemun’s Little Mongolia.

Also on the foreigner crime front, Incheon Immigration officials have announced that a Pakistani who was deported in 1999 after he sexually assaulted a young Korean woman while residing here illegally has been rearrested in Seoul posing as a businessman. Despite a reentry ban, he’d reentered Korea on a laundered identity.

The Pakistani in question was given a suspended sentence and subsequently deported for molesting a 23-year-old woman who was playing the the waters off Busan’s Haeundae Beach. He apparently dragged her out to the deep water and assaulted her after rendering her unable to resist.

So, how’s the month long “strengthening of public order in areas with lots of foreigners” campaign going? Well, not bad, according to Yonhap. The campaign—conducted in six areas—has netted 464 arrests, with 29 being confined and 435 booked without confinement.

Some 40.1% of the arrests were for simple assault, followed by 16.2% for gambling.

The cops netted 62 on immigration law crimes. They also got some really bad dudes, too, including four muggers, three rapists and eight on drug offenses.

On a positive note, the Chosun Ilbo’s business paper reports that for Korea’s major telecom firms, foreigners have gone from being a problem to being a golden egg. Not so long ago, these companies looked at the foreigner market as something they didn’t really want but didn’t want to completely abandon, either. This was because the phones were often used by foreigners to commit crimes and many foreigners left the country without paying their bills. But with the local market now flooded, telecom companies now see resident foreigners as a way out.

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