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US soldiers accused of inappropriate behavior at Korean water park

SEOUL — Two 2nd Infantry Division soldiers have been accused of inappropriately touching female employees of a popular Korean water park, where South Korean riot police were summoned after another worker was allegedly punched and kicked while trying to intervene.

South Korean police said there were three Camp Casey-based soldiers who were drunk and been causing a disturbance at the Everland theme park, south of Seoul, starting at around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The soldiers were shooting at least one water pistol filled with alcohol at other patrons and stealing their food, police said.

The soldiers were in the park’s Caribbean Bay attraction around 1:10 p.m. when they began smoking. A female employee was guiding them to a designated smoking area when one soldier touched her shoulder, waist and back, according to the Yongin Dongbu Police chief of criminal affairs.

Police said a second soldier gave a worker at the park’s information desk a high-five but refused to let go of her hand, told her she was “sexy” and, while the first soldier — who had touched the other female employee — moved his hips or buttocks, made a remark she thought was sexual in nature and humiliated her.

A male employee tried to intervene, but the soldiers punched him in the face and kicked him. They also refused to follow orders from South Korean police who were called to the scene, punching one officer and spitting in his face, police said.

The confrontation ended after two police patrol cars and riot police arrived, police said.

Army officials identified the soldiers as a private, a private first class and a specialist with the 210th Field Artillery Brigade but did not release their names. The Army would not provide further details about the incident, saying it was still under investigation by U.S. and South Korean authorities.

A 2ID statement quoted brigade commander Col. Michael Lawson as saying the unit “does not condone or tolerate misconduct,” and promised full cooperation with South Korean police.

Korean police said the soldiers denied any misbehavior and were turned over to the U.S. military at 4 a.m. Sunday because they requested legal assistance. Police said they plan to ask they be returned for questioning Tuesday.

No charges have been filed.

rowland.ashley@stripes.com
Twitter: @Rowland_Stripes

chang.yookyong@stripes.com

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