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Tag: GI crime

Statement from US 8th Army on Recent Incidents

US 8th Army has released a statement on the recent spate of incidents:

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea – Eighth Army released the following statement after a series of recent incidents involving Eighth Army Soldiers:

“We are aware and concerned by recent incidents involving our service members. In every case, we have and are continuing to fully cooperate with local law enforcement officials.

“In accordance with the SOFA, Soldiers are subject to Korean law and we continue to work in complete cooperation with the KNP and ROK Ministry of Justice to ensure those laws are respected.

“Eighth Army absolutely does not condone and will not tolerate misconduct. Pending the outcome of a Korean National Police investigation and actions by the Ministry of Justice, any Soldier convicted of a crime will be considered for additional command action, to include separation from the United States Army.

“We are taking deliberate measures and actions to address all acts of misconduct and inappropriate behavior.

“Immediate actions by the units involved include suspension of alcohol consumption, termination of all three and four day weekend passes, immediate accountability of all personnel, execution of personal conduct training, review and identification of service members who do not meet Army conduct standards, and leadership seminars that will focus on Army Values, Soldier responsibilities and cultural awareness and respect.

“Our service members are expected to be respectful, honorable and faithful neighbors to our Korean hosts and we will continue to work with our Republic of Korea allies to hold accountable any service member who has been found to violate that trust. It is not reflective of the honorable actions of thousands of Soldiers who serve today in this period of increased tensions.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our local friends and neighbors in the community as we work to be better neighbors The ROK-U.S. Alliance is the strongest in the world and the actions of a few will not undo over 60-years of collaboration and mutual respect.“

Hopefully this will get things under control.

Cheong Wa Dae, too, is apparently pressing the Americans to do something before things get any worse.

GI trio steals Korean woman’s credit card. And who doesn’t shoot BBs at local civilians for fun?

So, the Korean National Police entered a US military base for the first time in 16 years to question the asshat who got himself shot Saturday night.

Police investigations have so far turned up that the GIs in question shot the BBs for fun (apparently something of a USFK tradition), something the suspects told investigators they do regularly. The couple tested negative for drugs, but the cops plan to conduct a more thorough test. The problem is that the three are blaming one another, with the shot corporal claiming the sergeant was the guy doing the shooting and driving, while the sergeant claims it was the corporal who did the shooting and driving. Interestingly enough, the testimony of the female soldier who joined in the spree—often identified as the wife of the sergeant—reportedly matches that of the shot corporal.

They apparently also told police they fled out of fear when they got pounced upon by police and local residents, that they bought the BB rounds at a stationary store near Itaewon, that they were too afraid to remember hitting the cop, and that they didn’t actually shoot anyone with the BBs, but rather shot at signboards and the like.

Do we really have to take these guys back after they complete their jail sentences here?

There was a protest in front of Yongsan yesterday, during which time News 1 noted some GIs smirking evilly from the overpass.

Let nobody fault CBS’s Byeon Sang-wook for a short memory. He cites the very first GI crime in Korea ever, which took place on Sept 8, 1945. As US troops were landing at Incheon, the US military used Japanese police to keep locals from entering Incheon Harbor. Despite this, some locals gathered at the harbor carrying Korean and American flags to welcome the Americans. The Japanese police fired on the crowd for entering a restricted area, killing two and wounding about 10.

The US 7th Division left a solitary infantry regiment in Incheon and headed to Seoul the next day, where at 4 pm they officially accepted the surrender of Japanese troops in Korea and raised the US flag over the Government-General building. At the same time, a funeral for the dead Koreans was held in Incheon. When it was finished, the families of the victims filed a complaint with the US military authorities against the Japanese cops, but a US court martial found that the shooting was justified as the crowd had crossed the police line. This, says Byeon, was the first crime ever committed by the US military in Korea—accessory to murder.

Byeon goes on—to sum up, he thinks the big problem is that US soldiers act not like allies but as an occupation force, and this thinking needs to change. He also thinks the SOFA needs to be revised to instill a sense of fear in GIs.

Oh, and USFK hits keep on coming—three GIs recently got busted after they tried to use a credit card they stole from the bag of a Korean woman they had been drinking with. They also stole her mobile phone. UPDATE: Is it just me, or does it appear the JoongAng Ilbo has taken down the story?

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?

American GIs sexually harass young woman on Line 1

Six American servicemen, including a 20-year-old identified as Mr. A, are being investigated for allegedly sexually harassing a 20-year-old Korean woman on Seoul Subway Line 1.

The incident reportedly took place on the Incheon-bound train from Dongducheon on Saturday evening.

During the police investigation, the victim—indentified as a Ms. B—said the servicemen were playing music loudly and dancing in the subway. She told them to be quiet, and that’s when she was attacked. She told police the GIs, who were drunk, started photographing her face, and when she protested, they started groping her. For several minutes.

B called the cops, and three of the GIs were arrested at Mangwolsa Station and turned over to American MPs. Police are looking for the other three, who fled the scene.

In a statement, 2ID said the division is taking the charges of inappropriate conduct very seriously, and that they will cooperate so that the appropriate measures are taken in accordance with the investigation results.

UPDATE: I can’t video footage of the crime itself, but here’s some of the arrest, plus some stellar graphic design work by the Dong-A’s TV channel to fill in the blanks.

I knew there was a reason we gave them cable channels.

Ye Olde Chosun has an even more detailed account.

USFK sex and drug crimes on the rise. And what’s up with USFK’s mail?

USFK has issued a statement of regret for an incident that took place last night in—sit for this—Dongducheon in which a 26-year-old GI attempted to sexually assault a bar worker. Or so he is accused. He is also accused of beating the bar owner when he stepped in to stop the alleged assault.

According to the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, crimes by American GIs climbed 20.5% between 2007 (283 cases) and last year (341 cases). The upward trend has continued through this year—as of the end of June, GIs had committed 205 crimes. In particular, sex crimes and drug crimes have skyrocketed. In 2008 and 2009, there were just four cases of sex crimes committed by GIs. This year, there were already seven cases as of the end of June. In 2008 and 2009, GIs committed four and six drug-related offenses, respectively. This year, they’ve already committed 10.

An opposition lawmaker has claimed USFK’s mail is being used to smuggle drugs into the country. From the KT:

The U.S. military postal system is being used as a supply channel for new kinds of drugs entering Korea, according to an opposition lawmaker Monday.

To put the brakes on the runaway rise in drugs sent here, it is crucial the Korea Customs Service (KCS) steps up surveillance and inspections Rep. Kim Hyun-mee of the main opposition Democratic United Party. The KCS seized 2.878 kilograms of illegal drugs from the Joint Military Mail Terminal (JMMT) in the first nine months of this year. That is 7.7 times higher than a year ago, Kim said.

Most of the drugs seized were “JWH-018,” better known as “spice,” which mainly sells secretly in Hongdae and Itaewon, Rep. Kim said in a press release.

‘Human bombs’ in Dongducheon?

The magazine SisaIN warns that with so many GIs in Dongducheon having served in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them may be suffering from PTSD.

It opens by noting that the dude who recently killed 16 folk in Afghanistan had served in Dongducheon (Marmot’s note: Is this true?). Most of the men in Dongducheon have done several tours in Afghanistan or Iraq. Or so the article says.

Dongducheon has been the scene of several GI crimes, although as SisaIN admits, none have been concretely tied to PTSD. However, a 2ID man accused of trying to rape a 20-something woman in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong in April 2007 was found innocent after he pleaded of PTSD (Marmot’s note: Is this true?).

Anyway, SisaIN believes USFK must transparently provide the Korean government with information on how many of its men in Korea suffer from PTSD and tell it what measures it is taking.

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