The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: GI crimes (page 1 of 2)

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).

Conservative group protests GI asshats

This is something you don’t see very often.

Their message, BTW, can be boiled down to, “Why the fuck are you guys doing this shit when we need to strengthen the Korea—US alliance and boost security against the North at a time when Pyongyang is threatening us with nuclear attacks?”

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.

No outrage after sentence suspended for GI rapist?

Well, this slipped quietly under the radar—as Stars & Stripes noted:

Last year, a pair of high-profile rapes committed by U.S. soldiers prompted demonstrations and scathing criticism from politicians and the South Korean media. But a South Korean court’s decision this week to reduce and suspend the sentence of a Camp Carroll-based soldier convicted of rape drew virtually no attention.

Pvt. Joseph Finley, 31, of the 2-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, was convicted by the Daegu district court in February of rape resulting in injury and was sentenced to three years in prison. On Monday, the Daegu High Court reduced his sentence by six months and suspended all punishment for three years – meaning he will serve no prison time if he commits no other crimes during that period.
[…]
There was little, if any, mention this week of Finley’s case in the South Korean press. Even in Waegwan, the city surrounding Camp Carroll, it seemed that few, if any, residents knew about Monday’s decision.

An agreement had been reached between the victim and the assailant, apparently. Moreover, the victim reportedly did not want the rapist punished, which seems to me a bit odd.

Here’s a look back at Finley’s case:

According to court sentencing documents, Finley was drinking alone at an off-post bar at 5:30 a.m. on July 24 when he saw a woman leaving alone. He suggested they continue to drink, and the two went to the woman’s house. It was at the home that the rape took place.

When questioned, Finley told police the two had consensual sex but the woman was too drunk to remember it. Police said the private’s story changed repeatedly during the investigation, and contradicted testimony from the victim, as well as the bar owner and staff. Finley’s DNA was also found on the victim, who suffered injuries on her genital area, arms and thighs, according to the court document.

GI gets six years in Mapo ‘rape’ case

This sentence leaves a really bad taste in my mouth:

A three-judge panel on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. soldier to six years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager in September.

Pvt. Kevin Robinson was found guilty of raping the 17-year-old at her residence in Seoul after a night of drinking. He also was convicted of larceny for stealing the victim’s laptop.

Robinson, 21, who was stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, shook his head as the verdict was read in the Seoul Central District Court. In addition to his prison sentence, personal data about Robinson will be available in South Korea on a media network for 10 years — a significant punishment in a country where privacy is so strictly protected that the names of criminals are often not released to the public, and their faces are blurred out in media images.

The head judge said the court considered the victim’s age, the fact that she was intoxicated, the lack of Robinson having any previous convictions in South Korea and the lack of brutality against the victim, when deciding the sentence. The judge said the length of the sentence was in line with guidelines recommended by a South Korean Supreme Court committee.

Six years is quite the score in a case where even the prosecutors admitted there was no direct evidence. In fact, every time prosecutors opened their mouths to the press, their case looked weaker and weaker. And even in their judgment, the bench said, “While Robinson denies the charges, when one puts together the circumstances, such as the victim’s underwear testing positive for Robinson’s semen, we can only acknowledge the facts of Robinson’s crime.” I’d like to see the other circumstances, because if that’s all the prosecutor brought, this conviction is BS.

Make no mistake—Robinson’s a Class A douche, and I don’t feel good taking this guy’s side. I don’t like this judgement at all, though. I can only hope the press isn’t telling us everything.

GI Korea has a good post on this (from which I stole the Stars & Stripes link). He’s also a lot more understanding of this sentence than I.

3WM on the Hooker Hill Fire

Remember that fire on Hooker Hill?

Three Wise Monkeys takes a look at the case of the GI accused of starting the fire, and I’ve got to say, it’ll be interesting to see how this proceeds.

US GIs in Gyeonggi-do to undergo sex crime prevention training?

So, according to the Hankyoreh, Gyeonggi-do Provincial Council proposed that all USFK personnel based in the province undergo training to boost their gender awareness. And it appears USFK will soon accept this and begin expanding sex crime prevention training, which so far had focused on new recruits, to all officers and men. This gender awareness training is a program that teaches soldiers the difference between men and women and prevents prostitution, sexual assault and other sex-related crimes.

Oh, and a Provincial Council committee also passed a resolution that would call on the government to improve the “unequal” SOFA. This resolution will go to a plenary session on March 16.

According to the provincial military liaison office, the province is currently talking with 2ID about the gender awareness program.

10 years sentence upheld for GI rapist

Lawyer pleas to the contrary, Seoul High Court upheld the 10 year sentence on the Kevin Lee Flippin creature.

Hopefully, he’ll soon have a long-term buddy in Cheonan, too.

Also on the USFK crime front, the douche (at the very least) in Mapo has actually chosen to undergo a jury trial. If the victim opposed this, however (and she might, given the nature of the alleged offense), it will revert to an ordinary trial.

GI in Mapo sexual assault case finally indicted

Prosecutors have finally indicted the American GI accused of sexually assaulting a high school girl and stealing her notebook computer in Mapo.

UPDATE: No, this is not from the Onion:

A prosecutor with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said the girl was a virgin and was therefore unlikely to have agreed to sex. In South Korea, premarital sex remains largely taboo.

(HT to GI Korea)

GI in Mapo rape case detained

An Uijeongbu court finally detained on Tuesday the American GI accused of sexually assaulting a high school girl and stealing her notebook computer in Mapo in September.

The court issued the warrant citing concerns that the suspect might destroy evidence or flee the country.

I’ve got to be honest, though—I hope the prosecutors have got more than this:

During questioning, Private R reportedly admitted to stealing the notebook, but denied the sexual assault, saying Miss A first offered in English to perform a sexual act (the Korean term is a euphemism often referring to oral sex or non-penetrative sex acts).

Prosecutors, however, filed for a detention warrant on Dec 2, based on the fact that Miss A is not sufficiently proficient in English to make the first offer and the National Forensic Service found Private R’s fluids on Miss A’s underwear.

You know, with all the crap the prosecutors have been getting themselves into lately, you’d think they’d know you don’t need a TOEIC score of 900 to make that sort of offer.

If the GI did actually assault the girl, I hope for her sake the prosecutors are bringing more to the game than that.

Prosecutors plan to indict the suspect within 24 hours of after is detention.

So… what DID happen with the Mapo GI sexual assault case?

The answer is, so far, not a whole lot, it would seem.

According to the Herald Gyeongje, Women Corea released a statement today demanding that Seoul Seobu prosecutors quickly indict the GI accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Mapo and steeling her notebook computer. They noted it’s been over half a month since police turned the case over to the prosecutors to decide whether to indict, but prosecutors have not indicted the GI. This means the prosecutors, who hold “absolute power,” is minding USFK.

They also warned—perhaps unaware of the impact such a warning could have on any future discussions over amending the SOFA—that if the prosecutors didn’t quickly indict the suspect, they would run up against public resistance.

In response, a high-ranking prosecutor said prosecutors will still conducting additional investigations, and that the indictment wasn’t coming any later than it would in other cases. He also stressed that the suspect and USFK was cooperating fully with the investigation and that he and his office were not carrying out a lazy investigation or minding USFK.

Marmot’s Note: From what I’ve read about the case, I think it’s very possible prosecutors ARE 눈치보기ing by delaying a decision… but it don’t think it’s USFK’s nunchi they’re looking at. I guess we’ll find out soon enough, though.

Does trying to light a bar on fire violate the ‘Good Neighbor’ policy?

A GI has been questioned for trying to set an Itaewon bar on fire after the owner told him to get out. Nobody was hurt, but four shops/bars were damaged/destroyed.

(HT to Sperwer)

GI rapist gets 10 years for Dongducheon assault

It wasn’t the 15 the prosecutors were asking for, but 10 years will have to do for Pvt. K.

In addition to the time in prison, he must complete 80 hours of compulsory therapy, and his name and personal information will be made public for 10 years.

Said the judge:

“The victim had to shudder with fear and sexual insult at her own home while the accused satisfied his sexual desire through three hours of violent and abnormal assault,” Judge Park In-sik of the Euijeongbu District Court said in a verdict.

(HT to Cory)

Granted, for Korea, 10 years is a heavy sentence (and one of the heaviest sentences ever meted out to a US serviceman in Korea), but it’s still disconcerting that this sadistic animal will be just 31 when he gets out. Assuming he does the full sentence, which he might not—just ask Kenneth Markle.

UPDATE: Yonhap notes that the response to this case has been rather extraordinary. It moved very quickly, and K got hit with a heavy sentence—the heaviest since Kenneth Markle, in fact—despite the fact that he confessed to everything early on, something courts often reward defendants for.

Yonhap also said the sentence compares with sentences handed out to Korean offenders, citing two recent cases: a man who got seven years for raping his 11-year-old daughter, and a man who got 10 for aggravated rape while he was wearing an ankle monitor.

One of the civic groups was pleased, but noted that they would have to wait until the appeal, as many GIs try to get their sentence lowered by attempting to negotiate with the victim ahead of the appeal.

GIs assault taxi driver(s), cop

And in the latest USFK caper, police in Yongsan are investigating four US soldiers, including a 21-year-old female soldier identified as F, for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver and one of the police officers who were dispatched to the scene.

According to NoCut News, after a night of drinking, F and her posse tried to take a cab near Itaewon Station (gee, go figure?) to return to their base in Uijeongbu at 1 am Sunday. They haggled with the driver, a 40-year-old Mr. An, about the price, but when negotiations collapsed, F started cursing at An and pushed him. When a 45-year-old Mr. Kim, a fellow taxi driver, tried to break up the fight, F’s three battle buddies beat him.

Not content to stop there, the GIs capped off the evening by jostling with one of the cops dispatched to the scene.

Or so NoCut News reports.

Judging the assault to be minor, the police turned the soldiers over to USFK, and plan to handle the matter in accordance with the SOFA.

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