2 draftees in uniform go AWOL for 18 hours

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2 draftees in uniform go AWOL for 18 hours

Two unarmed soldiers from the Capital Defense Command who deserted their base Sunday turned themselves into police a day later, the military said yesterday.

The two privates, identified as Choi, 23, and Kim, 22, were working as security guards for the No. 1 Air Defense Brigade in Jongno District, central Seoul, under the Capital Defense Command. They left the base at 6:50 p.m. Sunday after climbing over a rampart. They turned themselves in to Manan Police Station in Anyang, Gyeonggi, at 12:45 p.m. yesterday. They were gone around 18 hours.

The police immediately handed them over to military police after verifying their identification.

“We will interrogate Choi and Kim to find out the motive for their desertions,” a spokesman of the military told reporters. “We assume that they deserted because of personal problems. The two wore uniforms when they deserted and it was confirmed that they did not take out any weapons.”

The military police operated spot checks in some areas of Seoul in cooperation with local police to find the soldiers.

“We opened a checkpoint for spot checking after we officially received a request from the military at 10:20 a.m. this morning,” a police spokesperson said.

The military figured the pair passed through residential areas of Samcheong-dong near the Blue House after they climbed over the wall.

By Kwon Sang-soo, Yonhap [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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