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This and that regarding USFK cost-sharing agreement

The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) announced today that it has started a preliminary investigation to see if the Korean moneys paid for the upkeep of USFK are being used properly:

The probe is taking place while the South Korean government is waiting for parliamentary approval of its agreement to pay 920 billion won (US$866 million) for U.S. troops this year, a 5.8 percent increase from the previous year.

The move comes after a left-leaning civic group, Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea, in October requested a probe into the fund use after data showed that the U.S. is sitting on more than 1 trillion won of unspent defense funds paid by Seoul.

The investigation is to mainly focus on whether there was any attempt to evade taxes on interest from unspent cash paid by Seoul, according to officials.

Yes, that would be this Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea, led in part by that Kang Jeong-koo and a priest best known for illegally visiting North Korea. You’ll also recall that the lawmaker who’d been spearheading allegations of USFK “cash-hoarding” was none other than Rep. Lee Seok-ki.

Yes, that Lee Seok-ki.

As GI Korea said way back when:

[T]he money is likely being stockpiled in anticipation of whenever the big move to Camp Humphreys takes place. Moving all the servicemembers from Yongsan and the 2nd Infantry Division to Camp Humphreys is not going to be cheap. However, if you are a North Korean spy looking to create discord between the Korean public and the US military this is a great issue to demagogue.

Still, the fact that the BAI has decided to launch a preliminary investigation suggests that the public is insufficiently satisfied with USFK transparency. The recent cost-sharing agreement includes mechanisms to boost transparency, but the DP is promising to take a tough look at the agreement when it goes to the National Assembly for approval. You can read more about the “blowback” here.

It’s important to realize that it’s not just allegedly pro-North Korean elements raising the issue of transparency. The reliably pro-American Chosun Ilbo warns in an editorial:

Saddled with a huge fiscal deficit, the U.S. is trying to cut spending while focusing its strategy in Asia on Japan. If South Korea resists any calls to take on a greater share of the cost at a time like this, it may end up sidelined in policies involving Northeast Asian security and North Korea. It must therefore approach the issue from a diplomatic rather than fiscal perspective.

But an important point is whether there will be increased transparency in how the money is being spent. Washington has agreed to provide more information, but it remains to be seen just how much, since there is no legally binding clause in the agreement to ensure this.

The U.S. did not spend around W710 billion it received from South Korea as part of upkeep, but Seoul had no idea of this for some time. If this happens again, the South Korean public will only become more opposed to any rise in Seoul’s share of the cost. Both the U.S. and South Korea must be careful not to let the cost issue damage their alliance.

The likewise reliably pro-American Dong-A Ilbo also cites transparency concerns, and adds a demand that now that Korea is paying more to maintain USFK, the United States should make concessions on other security-related issues, by which it means Washington should agree to delay the transfer of wartime operational command to the second coming of Christ and lift restrictions on Korean nuclear development:

The two countries have yet to hold negotiations over revision to the bilateral nuclear treaty and another postponement of the transfer of wartime operational control. On the nuclear talks, the two sides delayed the deadline by two years to 2016, but have yet to narrow major differences despite nine rounds of talks. The planned transfer of wartime operational control is scheduled in December 2015, but it is uncertain whether the transfer will be postponed again. How negotiations over these issues are concluded will determine not only Korea’s security but also the nation’s nuclear technology development and the future of export. Since Korea has made concessions in the talks over defense cost sharing, the U.S. should make sincere efforts to resolve the remaining issues.

The Hankyoreh, meanwhile, didn’t find much to celebrate at all. I do think its call for an itemized standard like Japan is worth considering, though:

The talks basically left in place the current framework, leaving the US with discretionary authority on how to spend the money once a total amount is agreed on. Many had called for a system more along the lines of the Japanese one, where spending is decided on an item-by-item basis as needed. It would have been worth the headaches to find a way of adopting an itemized standard while working to minimize the financial costs. It’s also unfortunate that they failed to produce any real answers on how to use the 1,352.3 billion won in previous defense contributions that haven’t been used.

Of course, if we end up itemizing like Japan, we might want to demand Korea start paying like Japan, too. Even under the most recently signed agreement, Korea is paying less than 50% of USFK’s upkeep costs. Japan, I believe, pays something in the neighborhood of 70% (please correct me if I’m wrong here), and according to the Chosun Ilbo editorial linked above, Tokyo was asking Washington to make Seoul pay more in accordance with its much-improved economic power.

Seoul says no to US missile defense initiative

Korea will not joint the US-led missile defense initiative, but will go its “own path”:

Currently, South Korea is building an independent, low-tier missile shield called the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system with a plan to upgrade PAC-2 missiles to PAC-3.

“Unlike the U.S. missile defense system covering its mainland, Hawaii and Guam, the KAMD system is aimed at only intercepting missiles from North Korea,” Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told reporters.

“Considering need, suitability and budget availability, we will not join the U.S. missile defense system, but take our own path.”

Presumably, this is to prevent diplomatic problems with China. What’s interesting—other than the fact that Korea apparently expects the United States to help protect it from missile attack but doesn’t feel it should help stop a missile attack on the United States, let alone Japan—is that some felt the proposed delay in transferring wartime operational command had something to do with Korean participation in the US-led MD program:

The unscheduled press briefing is seen as the ministry’s move to preemptively calm down growing speculation that the postponement of wartime operational control (OPCON) may have to do with South Korea’s participation in the U.S. missile defense system. The OPCON transition is scheduled for December 2015, but South Korea has asked the U.S. side to reconsider the handover, citing changed security situation on the Korean Peninsula due to rising North Korean threats.

However, the minister denied it, saying “There was no missile defense discussion in tandem with the OPCON issue.”

One would hope this has an impact on the discussions on the delay. But I doubt it.

USFK pissing off people with ‘investigations’ of Korean business owners

YTN’s program YTN 8585 is claiming that USFK is forcibly investigating Korean merchants operating near US bases in Korea. Even though USFK lacks the legal basis to launch these investigations, merchants have no choice to agree lest they suffer disadvantages as a result (like being declared off-limits).

The YTN reporters talked to a Mr. Choe, who runs a club in front of the US base in Osan. Choe apparently got a call from the base telling him to come to the base because they had something to investigate. He went on base, and was subject to a one-on-one questioning in a small, windowless interrogation room with a door you couldn’t open without asking through an interphone. Very frightening stuff.

Without any evidence whatsoever, the USFK investigator pressed Choe about whether his club had provided prostitution services to US servicemen.

Choe was not the only one subject to this questioning; other business owners were as well.

A business owner by the name of Mr. Jang complained to YTN that this was Korea, and he was surprised by how far his rights and Korea’s sovereignty could be ignored.

According to SOFA, USFK has no independent investigative authority over Korean civilians. What this means, suggests YTN, is that USFK has overstepped its authority. And they found some guy from Minbyun to say as much.

What is forcing these business owners to agree to USFK’s random investigations is the threat of being placed “off-limits.” By banning US servicemen from entering certain businesses, USFK is placing what amounts to a business suspensions on bars ad clubs that depend on GIs for business.

Another business owner, a Mr. Seo, complained that somebody at USFK who thinks he can place whoever he likes off-limits with the stroke of a pen, and that Korean employees who have heard this were creeped out.

USFK, meanwhile, initially said there were no illegal one-on-one investigations, but later changed its story to there was no compulsion involved.

They got a USFK official on record saying found it difficult to believe there were one-on-one investigations going on in interrogation rooms, but a day later saying USFK had asked for info from local Koreans to investigation US servicemen.

The YTN program concludes by reminding us that a USFK commander had apologized after US MPs put Korean civilians in handcuffs, but USFK’s highhanded behavior continues with baseless investigations of Korean civilians at US bases.

Marmot’s Note: Look, as far as I can tell, there is no compulsion—the business owners are free to tell USFK to fuck off, and USFK is free to ban its own men from visiting certain clubs.

Having said that, I have to be honest—doesn’t USFK have better things to do than making sure its personnel aren’t paying for sex? I personally find Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto’s views about the comfort women objectionable, but I think he probably had a point when he advised US Marines in Okinawa to make better use of local adult entertainers. Why should the State Department and Secret Service have all the fun? Granted, prostitution in technically illegal in Korea (stop laughing, damn it!), but shouldn’t the people doing the enforcing be the KNP, not USFK?

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.

And on the USFK front…

- In a statement to the VOA’s Korean service, former USFK commander BB Bell said discussion of transferring wartime operational command from the United States to Korea should be put off indefinitely, a reversal of his previous support for the transfer.

Bell thinks with North Korea threatening the South and the United States with nukes, the need to aggressively deter the North has grown and the United States should lead this process.

He did say South Korea’s war fighting capacity was far better than the North’s, but as long as North Korea had nukes, South Korea would be in a seriously disadvantaged position on the battlefield or at the negotiating table.

Accordingly, the North Korean nuclear issue has become a core matter of US national security and as long as North Korea has a nuclear capacity, Korean—US allied forces should operate under US command.

- Speaking of BBs, two soldiers have been charged for their role in last month’s BB attacks and car chase.

- Would the USFK dependents please stop stealing from Yongsan Electronics Market. We thank you for your cooperation.

US forces to intervene in future N. Korean provocations?

It was announced yesterday that on March 22 Korean Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Jeong Sung-Jo and USFK commander Gen. James D. Thurman signed a Combined Counter-Provocation Plan to deal with North Korean provocations:

The South Korean-led, U.S.-supported contingency plan was developed by mutual agreement between the Joint Chiefs chairmen of both countries after a November 2010 North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island.

Officials said the plan includes procedures for consultation and action. It also improves the readiness posture to allow for a strong and decisive combined South Korean and U.S. response to North Korean provocations and threats, they added.

So, what does that mean? Well, according to Yonhap (and others, including the Chosun Ilbo), that means that while previous North Korean provocations were handled by South Korea alone, future North Korean provocations will trigger US intervention:

According to the new plan, South Korea’s military is set to play a more active role in taking any counteractions against “the origin of North Korean provocation and surrounding forces in the first stage.”

If North Korean provocations escalate, the U.S. will provide reinforcements from within and outside of South Korea, including Japan and elsewhere in the region under the control of the U.S. Pacific Command, South Korean military officials said.

Previously, South Korean forces were solely in charge of any actions against North Korean provocations, while the U.S military would come to the aid of South Korea only when a full-scale war erupts, they said.

“The South Korean military’s operational plan now calls for striking the origin of the enemy’s provocation and supporting and command forces,” a senior South Korean defense ministry official said. “Depending on the type of provocations and operational circumstance, the U.S. with its weapons can strike North Korean territories.”

Wow. Just wow.

Granted, this is coming from the South Korean side, and I wonder if the USFK side sees it quite the same way. Still, it would seem the chances of American forces being used against North Korea have increased dramatically.

UPDATE: Take a look at the headline in the JoongAng to get an idea of what the expectations are going to be: “US Military, Too, to Launch Retaliatory Strikes Against North Korean Command When North Launches Provocation.” Note also the graphic of serious Korean and American military hardware poised to rain holy hell on the North Koreans.

The story itself explains that in the event of a provocation, South Korea would immediately respond, and if it needs US support, it can request it. The Kyunghyang Shinmun, however, notes that some observers are saying US intervention is virtually automatic since the United States would be unable to turn down a South Korean request for support as long as it conforms to the conditions set out in the Combined Counter-Provocation Plan (MBC is calling it “virtually automatic US intervention, too). And no, I have no idea what those conditions are. On the other hand, the Americans did apparently get the Koreans to agree to talk with USFK before they launch retaliatory strikes on the North.

Has the Pentagon issued a detailed statement on what just got signed? I’d really like to know what the conditions are that would prompt US intervention, and I’m sure there are plenty of other Americans who would like to know, too.

So, just how many GIs are there?

Well, according to the Pentagon’s Base Structure Report, there are 37,354 men and women with USFK, an increase of over 10,000 men since 2009. And USFJ has more than doubled.

Personally, I think the numbers are wrong, and so does USFK, apparently—a USFK spokesman says their official size is 28,500 men and women, and that they’ve asked the Pentagon to look at their numbers.

UPDATE: The Hani also notes major increases in the number of US troops in Germany and Japan, too. They speculate this may have something to do with the end of the Iraq War.

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 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.

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 failing to turn over alleged pothead

According to Newsis, prosecutors are upset that USFK won’t turn over a soldier accused of trying to mail himself pot through USFK’s mail system.

Prosecutors in Incheon got a warrant for the soldier/airman in Osan on Dec 31. USFK, however, isn’t turning the guy over.

The warrant’s good for only 10 days. If prosecutors don’t get their hands on the guy before the warrant expires, they won’t be able to put him into custody.

An official with the prosecution said they’ve contacted USFK and are taking the steps needed to put the alleged pothead in custody, but they are unable to execute the confinement right away due to SOFA regulations.

The soldier in question was caught in September trying to mail himself 900g of pot hidden in coffee cans.

Prosecutors are also looking for a Korean-American who is believed to have helped the soldier smuggle the drugs.

Would the nice USFK people please stop smuggling synthetic pot?

Somebody’s not getting the memo:

Four runaway American soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of producing and selling a new type of synthetic drug, South Korean police officers said Monday.

The suspects, including a 23-year-old private from the U.S. army, only known by his initial K, are accused of smuggling synthetic marijuana via international air mail, officers said. They then allegedly produced a new type of narcotics called “Spice,” and sold the drugs to locals, foreigners, and other American soldiers in the foreigners‘ hub of Itaewon and the Hongdae area in central Seoul.
[..]
The agency said it has also arrested a 27-year-old Filipino woman, only known by her initial D, on the same charges. Twelve locals and foreigners, and 13 other American soldiers have been arrested without detention on charges of buying and using Spice.

Truly innovative stuff, mailing yourself drugs. Amazing they got caught.

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