USFK employee questioned as South Korea targets illicit firearms sales
January 30, 2005
PYONGTAEK, South Korea — South Korean police have questioned a civilian employee of the U.S. military as part of an investigation into illicit firearms sales, South Korean and U.S. officials said.
The questioning of the employee, whose name was not immediately disclosed by authorities, came after the Korean National Police on Tuesday arrested a Korean man in the city of Taejon and charged him in the alleged sale of firearms to two other Korean men, who also were arrested in the case.
Police would identify the man who was arrested only by his family name, Han. The other two men were not identified.
Han, police said, allegedly told investigators that, last month, he bought a shotgun and 575 rounds of ammunition from an employee of a U.S. military installation in South Korea. No further details were available from police Friday about the alleged purchase, including the name or location of the installation.
In addition, according to police, Han allegedly said he bought three 22-caliber firearms and 300 rounds of ammunition last July from an employee of the U.S. military who worked at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. That employee has since returned to the United States, police said. No further details were available Friday on that aspect of the case.
Han also allegedly told police that in 2001 he bought two gun barrels and other gun parts from a civilian employee of the U.S. military, police said. It could not be learned Friday what types of weaponry were involved in the alleged transaction.
Police said their investigation was continuing.
Meanwhile, officials at U.S. Forces Korea said they were cooperating with the Korean police investigation.
“Additionally, we are checking our various database sources to assist the inquiry,” USFK said in a written statement it attributed to Lt. Col. Andre Curry, 8th Military Police Brigade provost marshal.
“KNP is talking with a current USFK employee to gather information relevant to the case. We’re doing all we can to assist the KNP and we’re committed to getting to the bottom of this.”
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.