Taxis await clients in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 8, 2015.

Taxis await clients in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 8, 2015. (Ilya Plekhanov/Wikimedia Commons)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Police in Seoul have arrested a U.S. soldier on suspicion of assaulting a taxi driver who chased him down after he allegedly skipped out on the fare.

The male soldier exited the taxi without paying and fled in the Gangnam district around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, an investigator from the Gangnam Police Station told Stars and Stripes by phone Monday.

The investigator did not identify the soldier, citing South Korea’s pre-trial confidentiality law. South Korean officials customarily speak to the media on the condition of anonymity.

The soldier is stationed at Camp Humphreys, roughly 30 miles south of Seoul, 2nd Infantry Division spokesman Lt. Col. Ryan Donald said in an email Thursday.

The investigator said the taxi driver pursued the soldier, who “beat up the driver several times.” He said the driver was pushed down and landed on his arm.

Police on the scene suspected the soldier was drunk due to his “talking gibberish” and his inability to walk straight, according to the investigator.

The soldier was turned over to U.S. Forces Korea military police. The investigator said Seoul police are seeking to interview the soldier later for their own investigation.

USFK typically takes custody of its service members after their arrest unless they are accused of more serious crimes like murder or rape, according to the status of forces agreement’s section on criminal jurisdiction.

The 2nd ID takes “all reports of inappropriate behavior seriously and are cooperating” with South Korean police, Donald said. The command will not comment further until the investigation is complete, he said.

“This type of alleged behavior does not represent [the command’s] values or the respect we hold for Korean people or their culture,” Donald said.

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Yoo Kyong Chang is a reporter/translator covering the U.S. military from Camp Humphreys, South Korea. She graduated from Korea University and also studied at the University of Akron in Ohio.

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