U.S. troop arrests for assault, theft mar weekend in S. Korea
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Memorial Day weekend saw a continuation of a recent spate of U.S. military arrests involving off-post incidents in South Korea, local police officials reported Tuesday.
In one incident, Pyongtaek police arrested a U.S. servicemember accused of stealing a large truck, driving it for a few minutes, then crashing it into another vehicle.
According to police, the servicemember broke into the parking lot of a car-parts manufacturing company around 1 a.m. on Memorial Day and drove off in a 4.5 ton truck from the lot. Authorities said alcohol was involved, although they did not say whether blood alcohol tests had been conducted.
The servicemember was turned over to U.S. military police and an investigation is ongoing, South Korean police said. Local authorities indicated they expected to question him later this week on charges of auto theft and damaging property.
In another incident, one U.S. soldier and two other civilians were arrested after being accused of assaulting a taxi driver just before midnight Saturday. The trio refused to pay a $6 fare when the driver brought them to their destination, said Tongduchon police station officials.
The driver told police he began to drive the three back to where he picked them up; at a red light, the driver told police, they punched him and fled. The three were arrested later by Korean National Police officers and handed over to U.S. military police.
Information on the arrests was not immediately available, military officials said Tuesday.
South Korean police and U.S. military officials confirmed that on May 17 up to eight soldiers were arrested or under investigation in a series of weekend incidents.
The most serious involved a soldier accused of stabbing a South Korean man who suffered serious wounds. That soldier has been questioned by South Korean police and is being held by U.S. authorities while an investigation is completed, officials said.