U.S. partly apologizes for Korean incident

Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:39 AM
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UIJEONGBU, South Korea, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A U.S. commander in South Korea has partially apologized for an incident in which U.S. service members are said to have harassed a young woman on a subway.

The alleged misbehavior has caused a local official to call for changes to the agreement under which U.S. forces are stationed in the country, Stars and Stripes reported Thursday.

The six service members were allegedly acting in a rowdy manner while riding a train Saturday night, railway police said. When a young woman on the train asked them to quiet down, the soldiers began to harass her verbally and physically, the report said.

One or more of the soldiers may have touched her breast, police said.

When other passengers called police, the soldiers got off the train, pulling the woman onto the train platform, where three of the men were arrested. The other three fled.

The soldiers are based at Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu, said Lt. Col. Joe Scrocca, a spokesman for the 2nd Infantry Division.

The division's commander, Lt. Col. Eric Walker, apologized "for the soldiers' disrespectful behavior playing loud music on the train," in a meeting two days later with Uijeongbu Mayor Ahn Byung Yong, Scrocca said.

Walker also told Ahn that interviews with the soldiers and Korean witnesses should be completed to determine exactly what happened, Scrocca said.

The mayor called for revisions in the Status of Forces Agreement between the two countries that deal with how American soldiers suspected of crimes are treated.

"South Koreans pay close attention to crimes by USFK troops because they know well the inequalities of the SOFA regulations," he said.

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