UPDATE: Via Kimchi GI comes this SBS video of the incident. When it comes to these videos it is tough to make definitive conclusions when not shown in their full context, so keep that in mind. Judging just by this news report the people doing the most shoving appeared to be the SP’s.
Anyway apparently from what I can make out from the news clip the SP’s asked the shop owner to move his vehicle and he did move the and then went inside to close his store. The shop owner went back into the store and chased out the remaining customers and then went back outside where the confrontation happened. It is unclear who started the pushing but I can definitely see the shop owner starting the pushing but that doesn’t give SP’s the right to handcuff and detain the guy.
The SP’s should have stepped back from the guy’s shop and wait for the local police to arrive. It appears that the SP’s wanted to keep the guy there at the store until the police arrived. If someone with no law enforcement authority is trying to detain you I could understand why this guy would get pissed off if that is what happened. I’ll be interested to hear how other people interpret what happened, but that is how it initially seems to me. More video may convince me otherwise but from what I have seen, I see no reason why the SP’s could not have stepped back from the store and let the Korean police handle it. If the guy drove off so what, it is better then creating an international incident and it isn’t like the police couldn’t stop by the next day and talk to the guy about his parking habits.
So what does everyone else think?
Via various reader tips comes news that it appears some security forces personnel at Osan AB are in some big trouble:
The Korean government lodged a complaint with the U.S. military over an incident in which American soldiers forcefully put handcuffs on three Korean civilians, officials said Saturday.
On Thursday, U.S. soldiers on duty handcuffed three Korean civilians and tried to haul them into a U.S. base in Pyeongtaek, a provincial city 70 kilometers south of Seoul, after they had scuffles over parking problems.
Korean officials said seven U.S. soldiers involved ran afoul of Korean law. [Korea Times]
I would think this would be one of the first things that security forces personnel would be briefed on before starting duty that they have no law enforcement authority outside the gate against Korean nationals. If this report is true, it is the KT after all, the security personnel arrested these Korean nationals for something very petty:
U.S. troops are allowed to ask civilians to move vehicles parked within 500 meters of an entrance of a U.S. base, but not to make arrests.
According to Pyeongtaek police, the incident began when a team of seven U.S. military police (MP) personnel told a resident to move his car, which was parked within 500 meters of the base. Local authorities were called to the scene.
The man, identified as a 35-year-old Yang, parked outside his music shop, was told to wait for the police outside. But he entered the shop and was then placed in handcuffs.
A man identified as Shin, 42, was handcuffed after protesting the move.
The troops attempted to bring the individuals to the base, during which time Yang’s brother was also cuffed for protesting. The cuffs were removed at the urging of local police.
Over at the Marmot’s Hole he has a report that the Korean national was being a major jerk. I can definitely see the Korean national being upset since he has probably parked in front of his business for years off loading equipment and now someone is telling him to move his truck. If the Korean national was being uncooperative the security forces personnel should have just stepped back from the confrontation and waited for the local police to arrive to handle the situation. You would think after the Osan Shakedown Scandal that the security personnel would be very careful not to create another black eye for the airbase.
Fortunately USFK leadership was quick to respond to what could have turned into a bigger issue with the Korean public if they didn’t quickly apologize for this:
The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) apologized Sunday for the handcuffing of three Korean civilians by American troops during a dispute over parking outside a U.S. Air Force base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
USFK Deputy Ccommander Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, said in a news conference, “I have ordered a full investigation of this incident. The individuals involved have been suspended, and will not perform their normal duties until the investigation is completed.”
The commander of the 7th U.S. Air Force, which is based in Pyeongtaek apologized, adding, “We are working closely with the Korean National Police, and have provided witness statements as they requested.”
USFK Commander Gen. James Thurman issued a statement of apology. [Korea Times]
Since these guys were on duty they will not face any Korean prosecution due to the SOFA and it will be up to their leadership at Osan AB to determine if they violated anything in the UCMJ. At a minimum though these security personnel should be marched down to the music shop and apologize for what they did because if the information reported is true this whole incident could have been avoided if they would have let the local police do their job.