PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Camp Humphreys officials have lifted an off-limits ban on seven of 12 businesses after merchants submitted paperwork spelling out steps they’ll take to curb underage drinking, the U.S. military said Monday.

The merchants have promised to install closed-circuit TV to videotape bar transactions, check servicemember identification cards to weed out prospective underage drinkers, post “No Minors” signs in each establishment’s windows or entrance, and call South Korean or U.S. military police if ID checks turn contentious, said Kim Ki-ho, president of the Anjung-ri Merchants Association.

Accordingly, Camp Humphreys officials last Friday lifted the ban on seven of the businesses and are weighing further action on the remaining five, U.S. Forces Korea spokesman David Oten said Monday.

Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. put the 12 establishments off-limits Aug. 11 after undercover Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) agents allegedly caught 11 of the businesses selling alcohol to an underage agent posing as a would-be drinker, officials have said. Taliento put a 12th business off-limits for an alleged instance of prostitution or human trafficking. Taliento is commander of the Area III Support Activity at Camp Humphreys, which is in Pyongtaek City’s Anjung-ri district.

U.S. Forces Korea policy bans drinking by servicemembers younger than 21. South Korea’s legal drinking age is 20.

As of Monday afternoon, five establishments were still off-limits: Duffy Club, Top Hat Club, Wall Club, Shooters Club and Ace Club.

In the Ace Club, one of the agents was allegedly able to “buy” a female worker’s time. USFK policy forbids servicemembers from the practice because it has been a means of making prostitutes available to customers. By paying the bar’s management for a bar girl’s time, the female is allowed to leave the premises and stay with the customer for a stated time period, typically for sexual liaison.

The off-limits ban initially touched off an angry reaction from local merchants, who were miffed that it had been imposed on them with little prior notice, Kim said. Base officials notified the Pyongtaek mayor’s office Aug. 11 and the individual businesses Aug. 12. On Aug. 12, merchants hung a banner in the bar district that rebuked Taliento by name, but they took it down Aug. 14.

On Monday, Kim praised Taliento for helping to resolve the matter quickly and said he plans to express his thanks in person once the status of the remaining five establishments is resolved.

“I will do my best for relationship (with) U.S. soldier and Korean people in downtown” Pyongtaek, he said.

What’s on, what’s off

Camp Humphreys officials have removed from off-limits status the following seven establishments:

Enterprise ClubMaxim ClubBay Watch ClubOlympia ClubBlue Hawaii ClubZeus ClubFamily Mart storeAs of Monday afternoon, the five still off-limits were:

Stripes in 7

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