News / Asia

    US Troops in South Korea Under More Scrutiny

    Sergeant Major of the US Army, Raymond Chandler III, speaking to reporters at 8th Army HQ, (Yongsan, Seoul, November 7, 2011)
    Sergeant Major of the US Army, Raymond Chandler III, speaking to reporters at 8th Army HQ, (Yongsan, Seoul, November 7, 2011)

    A series of criminal incidents involving troops and others affiliated with the U.S. military in the country has prompted a renewed curfew for U.S. troops in South Korea. The police and the U.S. 8th Army are at odds over whether the number of such serious incidents is on the rise.

    The U.S. military has extended a curfew for its personnel in South Korea until January 6. This comes after a young U.S. Army private was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a South Korean court for the rape of a high school girl, just north of Seoul.

    A 30-day curfew was implemented on October 7 following the sexual assault and other incidents involving troops, military family members or civilian workers for the U.S. military here.  The off-installation nightly curfew was ordered by the commander of all American forces in the country, Army General James Thurman. His predecessor, General Walter Sharp, who retired earlier this year, lifted, in July 2010, an unpopular curfew which had been in place for nine years.

    Sharp said the time had come to end the restrictions because he believed troops could be trusted to do the right thing. U.S. Eighth Army officials say nearly all of their troops in the country are doing just that.  They contend the number of serious incidents, involving no more than one-tenth of one percent of those falling under the Status of Forces Agreement, has been on the decline.

    However, the National Police Agency in South Korea has released statistics showing a rising number of rapes, robberies, thefts, and other acts of violence committed by the troops and other personnel working for the U.S. military, in the past few years.

    In the past decade, the total number of such incidents in South Korea has been about 225.

    But the crimes involving the U.S. military community sometimes become front-page news in a country where there is a deep seated unease among many about the continuing presence of foreign soldiers on their soil.  The sergeant major of the U.S. Army, Raymond Chandler, acknowledges that criminal incidents by American military personnel overseas tend to get intense scrutiny by those in the host country.

    "Any act of misconduct is bad. And, it doesn't matter where it is or where it happens. When a soldier doesn't do what they're supposed to do,  that's not right" Chandler stated. "It's even magnified or made worse when we're here in someone else's country as their guest."

    Chandler, the senior enlisted member of the Army, is meeting with U.S. and South Korean forces here this week.  His visit comes amid mixed reaction to the 10-year sentence imposed by a South Korean judge last week. It is the most severe ruling imposed on a U.S. service member in the country in 20 years.

    Twenty-year-old Private First Class Kevin Flippin was convicted of breaking into the room of an 16-year-old girl, repeatedly raping, beating and burning her and then stealing the equivalent o $4.50.

    Although the prosecutor and some South Korean civic activist groups demanded an even harsher punishment for the American, some observers - especially U.S. service personnel - contend the soldier, who expressed remorse and had no prior criminal history, received a more severe sentence because he is a foreigner.  Chandler is supporting the tough prison term.

    "This young man was found guilty of a heinous crime against a woman. And, the punishment that he received is well within the bounds of the law and I support that 100 percent," Chandler said.

    The U.S. government has apologized to South Korea for the rape. Another U.S. soldier is also facing sexual assault and theft charges for a mid-September incident in Seoul which allegedly followed a night of drinking in a university area.

    The U.S. military has had a significant presence in South Korea since the armistice halting the civil war on the peninsula in 1953.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora