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SEOUL — South Korean authorities are still searching for the man they say killed a South Korean marine, injured another and made off with their weapons last week, said a spokesman for the Ganghwa police department.

Thousands of the country’s police and military personnel are conducting searches and questioning possible witnesses, hoping for information leading to an arrest, the spokesman said in a phone interview Monday.

The spokesman said the suspect used his vehicle to strike two Korean marines from behind on Thursday, stabbed both and then stole a K-2 rifle, 75 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade. Police believe the suspect may use the stolen weapons in another crime, according to an article in the Korea Times.

Pfc. Park Young-chul was killed and Sgt. Lee Jae-hyuck was seriously injured and treated at Ganghwa Hospital, authorities have said.

Police told Stripes that blood taken from Park’s earpiece and from a pair of gold-framed glasses found at the crime-scene suggest the suspect has blood type AB.

Police also are investigating the possibility that the suspect may have been a member of the victim’s 2nd Marine Division unit and stationed at Ganghwa Island, the spokesman said.

About 10,000 marines have been discharged from the unit since 1989, according to the spokesman. About 3,000 live close enough to be considered possible suspects, the police spokesman said. Of those, 500 have AB blood type.

The police spokesman said analyzing the forensic materials will take a long time, and investigators hope they can develop leads from witness accounts.

On Monday police raised the reward for information leading to the suspect’s capture from 20,000,000 won (about $22,000) to 30,000,000 won (about $33,000).

Spokesmen from the Ministry of National Defense were unavailable for questions Monday afternoon.

A spokesman from U.S. Forces Korea told Stripes last week that USFK would not change its force-protection status because of the incident.

However, airmen at Osan Air base were locked down over the weekend as a safety measure in response to the incident, and only duty-related travel and travel to and from off-base residences was allowed.


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