USFK Halts Patrols in Seoul

The U.S. Forces Korea on Friday halted patrols with local law enforcement around army bases here. The decision comes after the handcuffing of Korean civilians by American military police during an argument in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province on July 5.

U.S. military police will now wait in their precincts and be mobilized only when there is a request, a USFK spokesman said. They will no longer carry firearms when they are called out.

U.S. officers went on nightly patrols with Korean police in the bar districts of Seoul’s Itaewon and Dongducheon in Gyeonggi Province just north of the capital since 1990 to prevent American soldiers committing crimes and clashing with locals.

The decision to halt the patrols came after seven MPs got into an argument over parking with three Koreans in a bustling area near the USFK base in Pyeongtaek. The MPs handcuffed the three men and tried to haul them to the military base. USFK Commander Gen. James Thurman later apologized and pledged to conduct a thorough investigation.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 17, 2012 10:44 KST