Police seek warrant for man accused of stabbing U.S. soldiers
Published : 2013-03-17 21:11
Updated : 2013-03-17 21:11
DONGDUCHEON (Yonhap News) ― Police said Sunday they will request an arrest warrant for a Korean man for allegedly stabbing three American soldiers during a fight near a U.S. Army base here the previous day.
The stabbing happened at 6:20 a.m. Saturday during a fight in front of a club in Dongducheon, just north of Seoul, police said.
Two victims were taken to a nearby hospital before being released later. One was being treated at a military hospital at Yongsan Army Garrison in central Seoul for a life-threatening injury to his abdomen.
All five U.S. soldiers, including the three injured, were taken into U.S. military police custody. The Dongducheon Police Station said the soldiers will be booked without physical detention on charges of assaulting the Korean man, identified only by his surname Lee.
Police said an altercation between the soldiers triggered the bloody fight.
Lee, the owner of the club, got embroiled in the fight on his way home, a police officer said, adding one of the soldiers was an acquaintance of his.
The 33-year-old was initially battered by the four soldiers and took the knife from the acquaintance, a Korean-American soldier identified only as Yoo, and stabbed them, according to the police.
The fight allegedly began when the four soldiers tried to help Yoo’s Filipino wife, who was drunk and staggering in front of the club. Misunderstanding the move as a sexual assault, Yoo took a 33-centimeter-long knife from his car.
After the incident, Lee voluntarily reported himself to the police.
Police said Lee as well as the American soldiers were drunk at the scene.
“We’ve decided to seek an arrest warrant for only the Korean suspect because the crime was serious enough to put one of the soldiers stabbed in a life-threatening condition,” said Kim Bok-jun, a senior officer in charge of investigating the case.
The case was initially incorrectly reported as a fight between four American soldiers and three Koreans, with Lee allegedly stabbing the soldiers while trying to defend himself after they threatened him with a knife.
Two other Korean passersby involved in the case were later released as police found that they did nothing wrong and were trying to stop the fight.
Concerns have grown among South Koreans over crimes committed by U.S. soldiers stationed here, particularly after a group of American soldiers were accused last week of firing a BB gun into a crowded district in Seoul that led to a high-speed police car chase.
About 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a cease-fire.