Eventful weekend leads to probe
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Eight U.S. soldiers from Camp Walker in Daegu are being investigated for their alleged roles in two separate weekend incidents, one in which two South Korean women were punched and kicked, authorities said Monday.
The soldiers were turned over to the U.S. military, which is investigating the alleged misconduct, officials said.
“The Korean National Police are the lead agency, and we are supporting them fully at this time,” 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Brodrick Bailey said.
Six soldiers — two women and four men — allegedly punched and kicked the two women when the pair tried to stop them from vandalizing a sign outside a restaurant about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
The women, a 37-year-old and her mother, 59, are the restaurant’s owners, police said.
The two female soldiers allegedly initiated the assault, police said, adding that all four males took part in assaulting the Korean women.
Police said all the soldiers had been drinking alcohol prior to the incident.
The restaurant is about a 20-minute drive from Camp Walker in a section of southern Daegu not frequented by U.S. servicemembers, police said.
Onlookers called police, who detained and questioned the six soldiers, then turned them over to U.S. military authorities at Camp Walker, police said.
Few additional details on the restaurant incident were immediately available from police Monday, including information on what injuries, if any, the alleged victims sustained.
Police said they plan to question the six soldiers Friday.
In an incident Saturday night, two soldiers allegedly stole a motorbike parked in front of a cell phone store, but they were quickly apprehended by police.
Police said one of the soldiers distracted the owner of the store by engaging him in conversation, while the other made off with the bike, which had been parked outside the store.
The owner and a local resident called the police and reported the theft, police said.
When police arrived, they found the soldiers on the 50cc motorbike about 100 yards from the cell phone store, they said.
Police said the soldiers claimed to be U.S. tourists visiting South Korea but eventually admitted they were soldiers.
Police said they will seek to question the two further at a date still to be set.
They had no further details Monday.