SEOUL — A 48-year-old South Korean woman was arrested Tuesday on charges of using her access to Yongsan Garrison to charge entrance fees in exchange for signing in almost 180 South Koreans during the past three years to gamble, according to Seoul police.

The woman has been accused of charging each person 30,000 won ($30) for access an estimated 900 times between April 2002 and January 2005, and the numbers could be higher, said Chief Detective Jang Sung-yoon, who works in the foreign affairs section of the Seoul Police.

The woman is officially charged with running an illegal currency exchange business, in which she charged interest while exchanging won and dollars, Jang said. The police found a bank account in her name containing more than 1.2 billion won, or $1.2 million, he said.

The woman, whom Jang would identify only by her last name, Kim, gained access to base through her membership in the Korean-American Association, Jang said. He said Kim never had worked on base or for U.S. Forces Korea.

He said it appeared most of Kim’s clients used the access to Yongsan to gamble. The status of forces agreement between the United States and South Korea bars anyone without SOFA status from on-post slot machine rooms.

Officials at the Installation Management Agency’s Korea Region Office — which is responsible for base access and security — referred all questions about the arrest to U.S. Forces Korea.

USFK public affairs officials were unavailable for comment Tuesday. Jang, who is overseeing the case, said his officers so far have not worked with U.S. military officials while investigating the case.

The Seoul police got a tip last fall about the entrance fees and the exchange business, Jang said Tuesday during a phone interview. The police obtained a warrant to examine Kim’s bank accounts and search her home in the Yongsan area, he said.

They found a list of her customers and are continuing to investigate whether charges may be filed against them, he said. As of Tuesday, only Kim faced charges.

U.S. military officials have estimated that more than 70,000 legitimate visitors pass through USFK bases’ gates each year. In 2002, 35 people were caught trying to bribe gate guards to enter the installations, according to the 8th Army.

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