Accused deserter has now fled the South Korean military, too
SEOUL — Oops — he did it again.
A South Korean man — who allegedly deserted the U.S. Army rather than to deploy to Iraq — has now deserted the South Korean military while under investigation.
The 26-year-old man, identified only as Kim, joined the U.S. Army in 2003 in a bid to become an American citizen, South Korean Ministry of National Defense officials confirmed earlier this month.
After deserting the U.S. Army in 2005, he returned to South Korea and began his mandatory military service in November 2006, officials said.
With the knowledge of his South Korean unit, he turned himself into the U.S. military earlier this month but was released back to South Korea’s 25th Infantry Division so officials could investigate the sticky legal matter, the MND said.
But Kim deserted his post in northern Gyeonggi province early Friday morning, South Korean officials confirmed.
Officials believe the unarmed Kim is hiding in mountainous terrain surrounding the camp and have launched a search.
An MND spokesman told Stars and Stripes earlier this month that the case was complicated, “even in terms of international law since Private Kim is a Korean soldier as well as an American deserter.”
But on Friday, an MND spokesman said Kim has now deserted from both countries.
“It is very difficult now for him to go unpunished,” the spokesman said.
U.S. Forces Korea officials have said they will coordinate with the South Korean army after the investigation is complete.