SEOUL – Four U.S. soldiers were injured during an early Saturday morning brawl that involved a knife and baseball bat outside a bar near Camp Casey in Dongducheon.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, but one soldier was in intensive care Saturday afternoon after being treated for a stab wound to the abdomen, a 2nd Infantry Division spokesman said.
The Korean bar manager told police that he was outside his establishment in The Ville shortly after 6 a.m. when the four soldiers "provoked" him into an altercation by suggesting that his club employed prostitutes, according to the Dongducheon Police and 2ID.
While it was not clear what kind of establishment the manager runs, The Ville is home to about two dozen “juicy bars,” where hostesses – usually Philippine women imported to work at the clubs – flirt with soldiers in getting them to buy the women expensive juice drinks for their continued company.
During the altercation, three of the soldiers were cut or stabbed, while the fourth was hit in the head with a baseball bat, according to a 2ID news release. Aside from the soldier stabbed in the abdomen, one was stabbed in the buttocks and another was cut on the hand, officials said.
The 2ID release said the club manager pulled the knife, while police reported that the Korean man said the hunting-like knife was first produced by one of the soldiers, and he managed to take it away and use it during the brawl.
It was not immediately clear whether the soldiers had been inside the club prior to the fight, and who brought the bat into the fray, officials said. Officials did say the bat was not full-sized, but was smaller – police even referred to it as a kind of “toy.”
Two other Koreans tried to break up the fight, and one of them sustained a head injury in the effort, officials said.
After the altercation, the soldiers managed to returned to base, where they were taken for treatment of their injuries, officials said. The club manager was taken into custody by police, according to 2ID, and “a complete Korean National Police and U.S. law enforcement joint investigation is underway. We trust the investigative process will determine the facts."
Thanks to a string of incidents in recent months, even relatively minor alleged acts of misbehavior by U.S. soldiers have received national attention in the South Korean media.
“This incident is not representative of the favorable relationship between U.S. soldiers and Korean citizens in Dongducheon,” the 2ID release said.