S. Koreans may pursue pretrial custody of soldier accused in stabbing
SEOUL — South Korean authorities may pursue pretrial custody of a U.S. soldier accused of a stabbing, news reports here indicated.
The 17th Aviation Brigade soldier has been accused of stabbing a 27-year-old South Korean man May 15 in Seoul. The man was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The soldier’s name hasn’t been released because charges haven’t been filed, said 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Boylan. Four other U.S. soldiers and a Korean soldier assigned to a U.S. Army unit also were under investigation in connection with the incident, South Korean police said.
After the South Korean was injured, 8th Army officials expressed “sincere regrets” and pledged to investigate.
Kim Tae-hyung, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice prosecutor’s office, said Monday the incident remains under South Korean investigation. He declined to give further information about the case.
Several South Korean news reports, though, quoted unnamed South Korean officials as planning to pursue custody of the soldier.
Under the U.S.-South Korean status of forces agreement, South Korea may request pretrial custody of a servicemember accused of one of a dozen serious crimes. Attempted murder falls into one of those categories.
The soldier remains under 24-hour control by his unit but is not confined, Boylan said.
Since the status of forces agreement was modified in 2001, South Korea has held one U.S. Army soldier, Sgt. Jerry Onken, in pretrial confinement. Onken, convicted earlier this year of a fatal November 2003 drunken-driving crash, was sentenced to three years in prison.