Reporter’s Notebook: On patrol with the MPs at Itaewon
August 18, 2008
Spend a little time with the military police who run courtesy patrols through the Itaewon bar district and you’re bound to learn some interesting things.
In my effort to write a story about the first night of the new extended curfew, I spent a chunk of the night with soldiers from the 142nd Military Police Company.
Here’s what I learned:
If you’re looking for trouble, the U.N. Club is the place to go — the place military policeman Spc. Emmanuel Reyes called the No. 1 headache for MPs in Itaewon. He said it’s the most likely scene for an off-post incident, and MPs break up at least one fight a week there.At the ever-crowded Helios club, military police said they have to keep an especially close watch on their weapons, as patrons frequently try to grab them. "Koreans aren’t used to seeing weapons," explained Pfc. Andrew Vogel. "They’re curious, and they want to touch them." He said even servicemembers sometimes reach for the MPs’ batons.Don’t believe the proprietors of off-limits establishments when they tell you they can lock the doors and protect you from the military police. One woman told me exactly that as she tried to drag me into her bar.During a trip up Itaewon’s infamous "Hooker hill," the military police had no problem getting into the clubs to check IDs.