Armed soldier escapes unit in Mokpo

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Armed soldier escapes unit in Mokpo

A young Army private armed with a K2 submachine gun escaped from his unit early Friday morning in Mokpo, South Jeolla, military authorities said. A search for the soldier is currently under way.

According to the Korean Army, the first class private, surnamed Lee, was in charge of guarding the coastline around Mokpo North Harbor from 4 to 6:30 a.m. After his shift, he reportedly told one of his comrades that he had a stomachache and needed to use the bathroom.

Lee was last seen walking away toward a shipping container. The K2 rifle Lee carried away contains 10 blank shells, but no live ammunition.

Local police received a report from a resident at around 10:30 a.m. Friday that a soldier carrying a gun, who was assumed to be Lee, was seen near an elementary school in Yeongam, South Jeolla, about 18 kilometers (11 miles) from his unit.

Lee joined the military in April and was stationed in Mokpo the following month.

Military authorities said that he did not require close watch and had not previously shown any signs of maladjustment.

Also on Friday, prosecutors demanded the death penalty for a sergeant formerly stationed in the Army’s 22nd Division in Goseong, Gangwon, who went on a shooting spree in June, killing five of his comrades and wounding seven.


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