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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — South Korean police say two U.S. soldiers admitted to beating a local taxi driver in a public restroom on Friday night.

But the two soldiers, 18-year-old Anthony Justin Faulkner and 20-year-old Justin Ronald Brown, claim the 51-year-old taxi driver verbally attacked them about 11:20 p.m. in the Itaewon entertainment district near Yongsan Garrison, according to the police.

Police said the soldiers claim they responded to the argument by putting the taxi driver, Park Gwang-yong, into a headlock and beating him. The driver remained hospitalized Tuesday; police have said the man might require surgery.

The soldiers fled into Yongsan Garrison, but U.S. officials turned them over to local police for questioning early Saturday morning. They were questioned again Monday afternoon.

A U.S. Forces Korea spokesman confirmed that two soldiers assigned to a subordinate unit of the 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) were under investigation.

The military would not confirm the soldiers’ identities.

Police said the soldiers have mentioned paying a financial settlement to the driver, a common practice in South Korea.

The police said they are going to forward the case to local prosecutors, who then must decide whether to charge the soldiers.

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