The fact that USFK is not issuing a full apology and that video of the incident from inside the subway has not been revealed tends to confirm that there is definitely more to the story in regards to the supposed subway sexual harassment incident:
The U.S. military has made a partial apology for an alleged subway incident involving six soldiers that the local mayor says adds impetus to calls for revision of the Status of Forces Agreement.
Official apologies have become something of a sensitive issue here. Unlike blanket apologies issued in recent years for some incidents of military misbehavior, U.S. officials qualified their statement this time, pointing out that exactly what happened on the train is under investigation. [Stars & Stripes]
Here is what USFK apologized for:
Two days after the incident, Lt. Col. Eric Walker, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, met with Uijeongbu Mayor Ahn Byung Yong to “express his apologies for the soldiers’ disrespectful behavior playing loud music on the train,” Scrocca said.
Like I said in my original posting I could believe these soldiers were playing loud music and being obnoxious on the subway because I have seen it happen before. However, surrounding and repeatedly groping a Korean female on the subway as they are accused of doing by the media I find hard to believe until there is evidence that proves otherwise. Considering the past cases of sensationalized media attention against USFK servicemembers I have good reason to be skeptical:
- GI Flashbacks: The 1995 Subway Brawl
- GI Flashbacks: The 2002 Subway Kidnapping
- GI Flashbacks: The 2002 Armored Vehicle Accident
- Policewoman Rape Case GIs Released
- The SOFA Agreement at Work
- You Can Expect A Fair Trail In Korea, Sort of….
It appears that USFK agrees with this since the command is only apologizing for the obnoxious behavior on the subway and not for sexual harassment. As this story continues to get fleshed out here is what one commenter said happened on the train:
How about that’s not what happen at all! Yes they were playing their music loud, yes she asked them to turn it down but they complied. They went to get off the train and then were GRABBED from behind by a bunch of Koreans, when the soldiers tried to get the men and women off of them one of their hands accidently grazed the womans breast as usual here, totally blown out of proportion! No one tried to drag the woman off the train. By the way there’s video from the train to back this up! I’m in Uijeongbu right and so sick of the media in Korea being so dramatic and out right lying in some cases. Yes there’s a few bad apples but guess what there’s a few bad apples everywhere and if it weren’t for America thered be no south Korea.
Based on the video from the subway station that has been released, there is so far more evidence to support this claim than the one that they surrounded and groped this woman on the subway. What I think will probably end up happening is that since this incident got so much media attention that these soldiers will end up being charged with some kind of sexual harassment offense to show the police are “doing something”. Then when the media attention dies down the prosecutor may drop the charge to something lighter if the prosecutor knows it is BS and the soldiers apologize to the people involved for being rude on the subway. A sincere apology can go a long way in Korea. I guess we will see what happens, but the moral of this story should be to not act like a jerk on the subway.