Pacific edition, Thursday, June 7, 2007

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Two American teens accused of stabbing a cab driver in Waegwan face trial in a local court later this month, authorities said Tuesday.

The 18- and 16-year-old males are dependents of U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea, the U.S. military has acknowledged.

The two are to appear June 22 in Daegu district court, each on a charge of robbery resulting in bodily injury. The driver, Park Sang-hui, was hospitalized for 10 days for treatment of a stab wound to the stomach that left an eight-inch gash, he said in an April telephone interview.

The alleged attack occurred March 20.

Daegu district prosecutors indicted the teens on May 28. Since then, the 18-year-old has been jailed pending trial, prosecutor Kim Shin-hee said.

Park is still unable to resume work because of his injuries, he said by telephone Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Park, a self-employed driver, picked up the teens near the main gate of Camp Carroll around 2 a.m. and took them to downtown Waegwan — about a $2.50 fare.

Once there, they bolted without paying, Park said in the April interview.

He chased them and caught them with a bystander’s help, he said. It was in an ensuing scuffle that Park was stabbed.

Also interviewed by phone Tuesday, Park’s wife said a lawyer for one of the teens offered to pay Park 2.5 million won — about $2,700 — but the family said no. Defendants in South Korean court cases commonly pay compensation to the alleged victims in hopes of reducing any possible punishments.

She said both teens’ parents visited the hospital and apologized for the alleged attack.

Park’s wife said she faces mounting medical bills and has been unable to run her small restaurant because she’s had to care for her injured husband.

“No one is claiming responsibility for this incident that changed the life of our entire family,” the woman said. “At this moment, I just want them to compensate for the medical fees even though they don’t care how much pain we are going through.”

Stars and Stripes reporter Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.

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