USFK investigating fight near Yongsan Garrison
December 19, 2002
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Korean National Police and the U.S. military are investigating an early Sunday morning fight among three soldiers and two Korean men near the Yongsan base, officials said Monday.
South Korean police and U.S. Forces Korea differ in their accounts of what happened about 2:40 a.m. Sunday near Gate 3 of main post.
In a news release, USFK said a taxi rear-ended a car driven by a U.S. soldier. The taxi passengers got out of the vehicle and began yelling at the driver and the two other soldiers who were passengers. The soldiers got of their car, USFK said; the taxi passengers began pushing them. The soldiers said they pushed back to defend themselves, according to the release.
Interviews with the soldiers and witnesses were in progress Monday, said Lee Ferguson, USFK spokeswoman. The names of the soldiers have not been released, she said. As of Tuesday, Ferguson said, the incident remained under investigation.
The soldiers were taken to a Korean National Police station for questioning and were released to U.S. authorities later Sunday morning, the release said.
But a Korean police official said Monday the taxi did not hit the other car. Instead, the U.S. soldier had stopped his car in the road for an unknown reason, said Han Jin-kook, a detective with Yongsan Police Station.
The taxi driver honked a few times, then three soldiers got out of the car and cursed, Han said. One taxi passenger then got out and asked what was the problem.
One U.S. soldier then allegedly punched the Korean man, Han said. The other taxi passenger got out, and the five men began fighting, Han said.
Han said the two Korean taxi passengers suffered injuries, but he was unsure of their condition. Ferguson said the soldiers suffered bruises and abrasions.
Han said an investigator went to the scene Monday to collect details. No one has been charged, but the soldiers will be interviewed Wednesday at Yongsan Police Station, Han said.
Choe Song-won contributed to this report.