Teens investigated in connection with attack on taxi driver in South Korea
Two American teenage boys could face prosecution for their alleged role in the stabbing of a South Korean taxi driver in Waegwan, officials confirmed Monday.
Daegu District prosecutors said they are weighing whether to prosecute the teens, ages 18 and 16, in the March 20 stabbing of Park Sang-hui, a self-employed taxi driver.
The teens are dependents of U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea.
Authorities have confiscated the teens’ passports and placed both on international hold, a status that bars them from leaving South Korea until the case is concluded, said Kevin Jackson, spokesman for the U.S. Army Garrison-Daegu.
Authorities released both teens to their families, he said, and Army officials will continue to cooperate with South Korean authorities in the investigation.
Park, interviewed by phone on Monday, said he picked up the boys near the main gate of Camp Carroll at about 2 a.m. and took them to downtown Waegwan — about a $2.50 fare.
When they arrived, the teens bolted without paying, Park said. He gave chase and managed to catch them with the help of a bystander.
They began to scuffle and Park said he saw that one teen was wielding something in his hand before striking the driver in the stomach.
“At first I didn’t realize what happened,” said Park. He grabbed his midsection and his hands came away bloody.
“The blood was coming out of my jacket, it was dripping on the street,” he said. “It was then that I realized I had been stabbed with a knife.”
Park and the bystander managed to detain the teens while calling the police. Park then drove himself to the hospital, thinking it was “no big deal.”
Doctors discovered an eight-inch gash, Park said, and quickly transferred him to the Daegu Dongsan Medical Center as he was losing consciousness from the blood loss. Park said he was lucky not to have suffered any organ damage, but was hospitalized for 10 days.
Park said he still can’t work and is recovering at home.
“We, as taxi drivers, live hand-to-mouth on a daily basis,” he said. Spending any time at home sick comes with a huge economic loss to his family, he said.
He also said he doubts he’ll allow any other Americans into his taxi again.
“Perfectly speaking, having somebody stick a knife deep into your abdomen, can you forgive them easily?” Park said.