7 GIs, Katusa arrested in 3 incidents
It was not a good public-relations weekend for the U.S. military in Korea. Already under a microscope because of the news and photographs of brutalities against prisoners in Iraq, seven U.S. troops here were involved in incidents with Korean civilians. In one, a knife-wielding GI allegedly stabbed a Korean civilian and inflicted injuries that police called serious but not life-threatening.
The Seodaemun Police Station arrested five U.S. troops and one Korean serving with the U.S. Army after what they called a drunken disturbance in Sinchon, Seoul early Saturday morning.
A witness said the men, whom police identified as members of the U.S. 17th Aviation Brigade, were stopping taxis and lying down on the hoods while others in the group took pictures.
“Three or four soldiers got on the taxi hoods,” the witness said. “After people started surrounding the soldiers, one of them took out a knife and stabbed a man.”
Police said the alleged assailant denied the assault; a U.S. 8th Army spokesman said only that U.S. authorities were cooperating with the police.
Police officials said yesterday that they had asked the U.S. Army to produce the men for a hearing Friday.
Two other incidents involving U.S. troops were also reported over the weekend. In Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, police said a U.S. soldier refused to pay a taxi fare yesterday, struck the taxi driver with his fist and fled, scuffling with a bystander who was attempting to call police on his cell phone.
Separately, the Uijeongbu police said a soldier with the 2d Infantry Division was charged Saturday night with stealing two women’s purses at a karaoke, making off with 1.3 million won ($1,100). He was arrested shortly thereafter in Uijeongbu.
by Min Dong-ki