South Korean prosecutors mull case against soldier
November 16, 2006
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Gwangju police will refer to local prosecutors accusations that a U.S. soldier struck a South Korean woman in the head with a bottle Nov. 5.
The soldier has not been charged with a crime and has denied the accusations, authorities have said. U.S. officials have declined to name the soldier.
Prosecutors must weigh whether to mount a case against the soldier, police said Tuesday.
The 27-year-old woman may need plastic surgery for injuries sustained in the alleged attack, police have said.
Police said the soldier is a member of the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, which is part of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. The brigade is a Patriot missile unit.
Since 2004 the battalion had been stationed at Gwangju Air Base, a South Korean air force installation. But this month it completed a move to the U.S. Army’s Camp Carroll in Waegwan.
Police on Tuesday said they’ve completed their investigation. They first questioned the soldier after the incident, then turned him over to the U.S. military, later saying they would want to question him again.
That second session came Nov. 10, after the U.S. military responded to a police request that it make him available for further questioning.
According to police, the soldier made sexually provocative remarks to the woman, and when she objected, struck her with a beer bottle.
Police said they traced the soldier through cell phone records.
The soldier was scheduled to return to the United States, but the U.S. military has said it will ensure he remains on the peninsula pending further action by South Korean authorities in the case.
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.