Soldier surrenders after attack on Seoul taxi driver
SEOUL — An 8th Army soldier accused of attacking a taxi driver and stealing his vehicle late Monday turned himself in to military officials Tuesday, U.S. and South Korean officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
South Korean police said the 22-year-old private first class is a military police officer who is stationed at Yongsan Garrison but was temporarily working at Camp Casey.
Lt. Col. Ken McDorman, 8th Army spokesman, declined to identify the solider because no charges have been filed.
But in an e-mail response to a Stars and Stripes query, McDorman confirmed the soldier is being held in the custody of his unit.
“The unit is currently preparing the paperwork to have him placed in pretrial confinement,” McDorman wrote. “He is restricted to his barracks room and placed under close supervision (guard).”
On Tuesday, Korean police had said they were seeking two Caucasian males — whom they assumed were U.S. soldiers — in connection with the case.
They clarified Wednesday that initial reports were incorrect and they were only seeking one man they believed to be a soldier.
Police said the soldier hailed the luxury taxi in downtown Seoul at nearly 10 p.m. Monday, ran up about a $50 fare traveling the 18 miles to Uijeongbu and then attacked the driver when they arrived in the city — home to the U.S. Army’s Camp Red Cloud.
Police said the driver claims he was beaten, kicked and forced out of the taxi, which was discovered an hour later about a 10-minute drive from the Army camp.
McDorman said the soldier’s battalion commander, command sergeant major and chaplain were to visit the taxi driver Wednesday night.
The soldier “agreed to pay a reconciliation (retribution) payment to the gentlemen,” McDorman wrote in the e-mail.
“The battalion commander will present this to him on the soldier’s behalf.”
The Korean police — who were jointly investigating the case with Army agents — said they’ll request to question the soldier next week.
“The unit will cooperate fully with the Korean National Police and make the soldier available for questioning whenever needed,” McDorman stated in his e-mail response.
Police said they believe the soldier left his cell phone in the taxi when fleeing the scene. Local news stations on Wednesday broadcast video captured on the apartment complex security cameras that they reported shows the suspect running up and down a flight of stairs in the complex.