DONGDUCHEON -- 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 infront 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 ArmyGarrison 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 Stationsaid the soldiers will be booked without physical detention oncharges 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 hisway home, a police officer said, adding one of the soldiers was anacquaintance of his.
The 33-year-old was initially battered by the four soldiers andtook the knife from the acquaintance, a Korean-American soldieridentified only as Yoo, and stabbed them, according to the police.The fight allegedly began when the four soldiers tried to helpYoo‘s Filipino wife, who was drunk and staggering in front of theclub. Misunderstanding the move as a sexual assault, Yoo took a33-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 atthe scene.
“We’ve decided to seek an arrest warrant for only the Koreansuspect because the crime was serious enough to put one of thesoldiers stabbed in a life-threatening condition,” said KimBok-jun, a senior officer in charge of investigating the case.The case was initially incorrectly reported as a fight betweenfour American soldiers and three Koreans, with Lee allegedlystabbing the soldiers while trying to defend himself after theythreatened him with a knife.
Two other Korean passersby involved in the case were laterreleased as police found that they did nothing wrong and weretrying to stop the fight.
Concerns have grown among South Koreans over crimes committedby U.S. soldiers stationed here, particularly after a group ofAmerican soldiers were accused last week of firing a BB gun into acrowded district in Seoul that led to a high-speed police car chase.About 28,500 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea asa legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a cease-fire. (Yonhap News)