Two AAFES employees in South Korea sentenced in beer thefts
January 14, 2007
SEOUL — Two South Korean AAFES employees, during trials in Seoul District Court last week, were convicted of violating customs laws, according to local officials.
Kim Jong-hyuk, a manager at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service store at Camp Long, was sentenced to one year in prison. Cheong Bong-jung, a worker at the same store, was given a 10-month sentence that was suspended for two years.
The men were charged with moving about 21,000 cases of beer from the AAFES store into the South Korean black market. The duty-free beer was driven off base in a government vehicle and transferred to a middleman, officials have told Stripes.
On Friday, Seoul Customs agent Kim Jong-mu said the middleman — who had remained at large since a Nov. 10 sting operation in which one customs officer was injured — called investigators Thursday to say he would turn himself in to authorities this week. The officer suffered broken bones and head injuries after he was dragged about 100 yards while the suspect escaped in a car.
Prosecutors decided not to charge two other AAFES employees accused of playing minor roles in the black-marketing scheme.
Customs agent Kim said the case was the result of a yearlong investigation that started when Army Criminal Investigation Command agents sought assistance with an investigation on the small camp, located near Wonju. He said Army investigators determined an excessive amount of beer was being ordered at the store.
AAFES officials did not respond to queries submitted Friday.