South Korean police want three charged in taxi assault
May 5, 2007
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — South Korean police Friday were to forward prosecutors a case in which two airmen and a civilian allegedly attacked a cab driver last month and tried to steal his car, police said.
Police outside Kunsan Air Base said Thursday that they would ask prosecutors to weigh robbery and assault charges against the three suspects in the April 23rd incident.
The incident prompted Kunsan’s 8th Fighter Wing commander to restrict all troops on base for five days.
Kunsan city police said the three suspects admitted they attacked the driver because they wanted to steal his cab and drive themselves to a nightclub in Jeonju city.
The suspects allegedly told different stories when questioned about other parts of the incident, a police spokesman said.
“When it came to the detailed part, including assaulting the taxi driver, they offered different statements, contradicting one another,” the spokesman said.
The driver, 48-year-old Lee Ki-jung, remained hospitalized Thursday in Kunsan Medical Center with injuries sustained in the early-morning attack.
The two airmen are Air Force security police officers assigned to the 8th Security Forces Squadron. The third suspect worked at a health products store on base.
According to police, the three allegedly got inside the cab in Kunsan city and asked to go to Jeonju. But about 20 minutes into the trip they allegedly choked and punched the driver, who eventually broke free.
The incident led 8th Fighter Wing commander Col. Jeffrey Lofgren to restrict servicemembers to base from that Monday to early the following Saturday.
He said the restriction was aimed at impressing upon the troops the need to behave toward the local community with conduct “above reproach.”
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.