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SEOUL — The 35-year-old man accused of killing one South Korean marine and injuring another in a plot to steal weapons and ammunition on Dec. 6 will face a military trial, Ministry of National Defense officials said Thursday.

Cho Young-guk, nabbed by police in Seoul on Wednesday afternoon, refused to speak to investigators Thursday and demanded a new court-appointed defense attorney, an Incheon Metropolitan Police spokesman said during a phone interview Thursday.

Cho is accused of smashing a vehicle into two South Korean marines walking to their post from guard duty, then stabbing them both, killing one and seriously injuring the other.

A police spokesman said Wednesday that they discovered a letter in Busan that led them to the weapons, including a rifle, a grenade and ammunition. They said that Cho also indicated in the letter that he would turn himself in to the police when he was ready.

The Incheon police spokesman said Thursday that Cho lived in a basement apartment in Seoul’s Hangangro neighborhood, between Samgakji and Ichon-subway stations, near the U.S. military’s Yongsan Garrison.

South Korean police in the Yongsan neighborhood said during a phone interview Thursday that they discovered 10 million won in cash and checks — more than $11,000 — in Cho’s vehicle, surprising since the suspect was eight months late on his 250,000 won (about $275) monthly rent.

They said they’re investigating whether Cho had an accomplice.

Yongsan police said neighbors described Cho as “a kind, calm, polite man helping other people,” who wasn’t known to make a fuss.

They added that Cho has no previous record of criminal charges and served his mandatory duty in the Korean army.

The Ministry of National Defense spokesman said that under Article 27 of the Korean constitution, civilians can be court-martialed for offenses such as injuring military guards.

The spokesman said Cho will face trial by the South Korean marine corps. If found guilty, he can appeal to the Ministry of National Defense, and finally, the Seoul Supreme Court.

Ministry officials have said that the marine who survived the attack, Sgt. Lee Jae-hyuck, remains hospitalized, and his recovery has been slow.

They also have said the most recent attack is the fifth theft or attempted theft of weapons from the South Korean military since June 2005. Most Koreans are banned from owning firearms.


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