Three American teenagers accused of assault in Seoul
SEOUL, South Korea — Three American teenagers linked to U.S. Forces Korea have been accused of assaulting South Koreans in a trendy neighborhood in Seoul, officials said Sunday.
The three youths – who are children of USFK personnel - are suspected of attacking two South Korean men after they bumped shoulders while walking near Sogang University about 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to a senior police officer.
About an hour later, they became involved in a fight elsewhere with another South Korean man as well as a taxi driver who tried to intervene in the northwestern area known as Hongdae, the policeman said.
The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity in exchange for disclosing details about the case, said one of the young men lives in South Korea while the other two were visiting during their summer vacation.
A spokeswoman for the Yongsan U.S. Army Garrison in Seoul confirmed the three youths were USFK dependents.
“We are aware of an incident in Hongdae on the 23rd,” garrison spokeswoman Laurri Garcia said. “We’re cooperating thoroughly with the (Korean police) to ensure that the matter is taken seriously.”
She declined to provide more details as the investigation is ongoing.
The three youths, one aged 17 and the other two aged 16, were booked without detention and ordered not to leave the country, the policeman said, confirming earlier reports by South Korean media. One of the victims suffered a broken nose and had his teeth loosened, he said.
Police found the suspects after responding to a call about the assault, the officer said. One of the teenagers reportedly said he remembered punching somebody but no other details. The other two denied the allegations.
The United States has some 28,500 servicemembers stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against aggression from the North. The troops and their families are governed by a status of forces agreement between Washington and Seoul.