SEOUL — Six U.S. soldiers have been accused of sexually harassing a Korean woman after she complained about their rowdy behavior on a subway train, an incident that has drawn national attention here.
The soldiers, all believed to be from the 2nd Infantry Division, were on a subway train about 9:15 p.m. Saturday that originated from Dongducheon — home to Camp Casey and Camp Hovey — playing a “boom box” loudly, while dancing and shouting, railway police said.
A woman in her early 20s asked the group to quiet down, which prompted the men to start taking photos or video of her, while verbally and physically harassing her, police said.
One or more of the soldiers may have touched her breasts, police said.
Koreans on the subway car called police, which prompted the soldiers to get off the train at the Mangwolsa station, dragging the woman onto the subway platform, police said.
Three of the soldiers were arrested at the scene by Korean authorities then turned over to U.S. military police. The other three fled. The investigation is continuing.
The names of the suspects were not released.
“We are aware of reports of an incident involving U.S. soldiers on a subway Saturday night,” the 2ID said in a statement. “We are cooperating fully with the Korean National Police as they conduct their investigation.
“We take any allegation of inappropriate behavior very seriously and will take appropriate action based on the results of the investigation,” the statement said. “The (South Korea)-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement holds U.S. soldiers accountable to Korean laws, and we will work … to ensure those laws are enforced.”
In a country where American military misconduct draws heavy attention, the incident has been the subject of national media coverage. TV stations have shown subway station video of the incident that appears to show someone being forced off the train by others, but the quality of the video makes it difficult to tell exactly what happened.