ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on June 25th, 2013 at 4:28 am

Osan Claims Town Patrol Was Just Doing Its Job By Handcuffing Koreans

» by in: USFK

Here is an update on the Osan Handcuff Incident via the Stars and Stripes:

Officials from 7th Air Force have filed paperwork saying seven airmen were acting in an official capacity when they handcuffed several Koreans near Osan Air Base a year ago, an incident that has caused an unprecedented legal rift between the two countries.

At issue is whether the airmen, who were conducting a routine town patrol, had any legal authority to detain three Korean men after one of them reportedly refused to move his illegally parked car from a street just outside Osan in the Sinjang pedestrian shopping area.

Osan officials have said the airmen believed the car posed a force protection threat because it was parked about 100 to 150 yards outside the base. South Korean authorities said the car was too far away to pose a credible danger.

The detained men were released after South Korean police arrived and were not charged. However, cell phone footage of the incident last July 5 aired widely in South Korea, prompting outrage over what was seen as the military overstepping its bounds. U.S. military officials quickly apologized.

Maj. Richelle Dowdell, 7th Air Force spokeswoman, said a military investigation of the incident found “some lapses in judgment and missed opportunities to disengage and deescalate the situation” but that all of the airmen acted in accordance with their duties and previous training.  [Stars and Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but if the town patrol members were doing their jobs in accordance with their training than why was two of the airmen punished for lapses in judgment as the article explains?  This is completely contradictory to them doing their jobs.  If they were trained to be confrontational to Korean civilians and handcuff them than it is whoever their leadership is who should be punished and not them.  You would think after the 2005 Osan Shakedown Scandal that the leadership for the town patrol would make sure they were well trained to deal with Korean civilians and handcuffing them should never be authorized.

Anyway this has all become grandstanding by the Korean authorities because all the town patrol members have already left the country, so nothing is going to happen to them.  By pushing the issue now it is a face saving measure for the Korean authorities because it shows they are “doing something”, but waited long enough to push the issue until Osan was able to reassign the personnel off the peninsula so it would not become a major diplomatic dispute.

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  • Chimo
    6:21 am on June 25th, 2013 1

    OP: “Anyway this has all become grandstanding by the Korean authorities because all the town patrol members have already left the country, so nothing is going to happen to them. By pushing the issue now it is a face saving measure for the Korean authorities because it shows they are “doing something”, but waited long enough to push the issue until Osan was able to reassign the personnel off the peninsula so it would not become a major diplomatic dispute.”

    Really? That’s the conclusion you’ve reached from this? Clearly this is more than just seeking punitive actions for the servicemembers involved.. it’s about setting the limits of US jurisdiction off base and ensuring something similar does not ever happen again where foreign soldiers took away the liberties of Korean citizens. You have stated yourself that there was no credible threat to the US base, so this issue is about setting the tone for the future.

    Not everything is about “saving face”. Save face from what may I ask? Koreans have all but forgotten about this incident.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    6:53 am on June 25th, 2013 2

    This situation is fraught with many more repercussions. The police charging the MP’s means that they can seek extradition. The Korean media can make hay out of this.

    Unlike the 2002 Tank Incident, the specifics of the MP incident are not such that 100% of non-Koreans would 100% conclude that the MP’s were acting in the line of their duty.

    The soldiers in the 2002 Tank Incident clearly fell under the SOFA, and clearly to anyone who is not Korean the soldiers involved in the tank incident did not have any intent. In the present incident, the MP’s clearly had intent to place the Koreans civilians in cuffs. Whether they exceeded their authority is a matter of perception: could the MP’s reasonably perceive “a threat to military property or facilities.”**

    (**According to the S&S article linked to,

    “Under the SOFA and related rules and regulations, U.S. military personnel can conduct patrols outside their installations to maintain order and discipline among troops and to monitor U.S. military facilities but are not allowed to enforce South Korean law and can take police action only in case of threat to military property or facilities.

    USFK has acknowledged that rules on the military’s policing authority could be misinterpreted.)

  • Baek, In-je
    7:02 am on June 25th, 2013 3

    If the KNP did their job properly (competently) tens of thousands of ajosshis would be handcuffed nightly. Hell, they’d have to have a cuff rack (like a bike rack) around each pojang maja (orange soju tent).

  • Baek, In-je
    7:07 am on June 25th, 2013 4

    One major (please understand my) cultural difference is that South Koreans routinely put their hands on police in anger and physically fight with the Korean police. The KNP allow this and accept it without arresting the offending ajosshis. This is clearly insane and the very roots of anarchy (see Anarchy in the ROK on my blog).

    If you put your hands on a peace officer in my country, please understand MY culture, you are going to get f$%ked up by the police officer and all of his friends. In addition, you will go to jail for a long time. This is what happens in a civilized country. Not in Korea. Oh, how I wish they would be more like the Japanese.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    7:17 am on June 25th, 2013 5

    @4, there’s a reason that police in the ROK err on the side of excess, shall we say, permissiveness. Inside of a generation, ROK was a military dictatorship and people feared the police. A police officer was a lucrative job with all the shakedowns they did on law abiding and honest people in addition to all the bribes they took from anyone they could shake down for minor infractions. I think it’s that the pendulum has swung the other way.

    That said, in understanding YOUR culture, I would never, never, never think to put my hands on a police officer. Those guys are big, and by placing hands on them, you’ve given them the go ahead to kick your ass with reinforcements. Then you’ll be criminally charged.

    Given the history here, police show, arguably too much, restraint.

  • JoeC
    7:18 am on June 25th, 2013 6

    “USFK has acknowledged that rules on the military’s policing authority could be misinterpreted” is the key point. It’s no longer much about what those individual town patrolmen did. It’s much more a dispute of the SOFA interpretation that the S&S article said could be escalated to the diplomatic level, which could lead the another high level SOFA review which brought about the 2001 revisions.

    Remember, that was at the height of the anti-American fervor and had everyone coming out of the wood-works with their gripes. This very issue was one cited in the current protests at Osan and it could easily rally in support from bus loads of outside agitators.

    It may have legs.

  • Chimo
    8:06 am on June 25th, 2013 7


    I’d much rather that Korea stay the way it is than have the KNP turn into the excessive-force using beasts that define US policemen. And Korean society demands that approach too. If the police acts in a heavy-handed matter, Korean people will react with protests/repercussions of their own (riots in the 90′s, 80′s, 70′s). Korean people are not complacent to abuse of power by authority figures much like you are. Every people here earned their freedoms and they mean to keep it.

    And who are you to judge how the policing is competent or proper? Are you an expert in this matter? Korean seems to be running fine with the system they have. KNP works a bit different in that their front line officers are young kids who usually conduct community policing services, while trying to de-escalate every situation. Real criminal investigations are done by detectives (plainclothes) who are given much leeway in how they conduct operations. Try putting your hands on one of them..

  • Baek, In-je
    8:35 am on June 25th, 2013 8

    “And who are you to judge how the policing is competent or proper?”
    I represent the average man with the average man’s sensibilities. I have seen proper police work in several countries. While US police officers are sometimes out of line, they mostly follow a strict code; Koreans do not.

    “Are you an expert in this matter?”
    Yes, I am. I have references.

    “Korean seems to be running fine with the system they have.”
    Hahahahahahaha! Sure it does!

    “KNP works a bit different in that their front line officers are young kids who usually conduct community policing services…”
    “…who are given much leeway in how they conduct operations.”
    i.e. they afford you zero civil liberties and freedom and there is nothing like the 6th Amendment, Miranda, Escobedo, etc…

    The Korean population needs to be controlled like small children are. They are too stubborn not to be.

  • Chimo
    9:02 am on June 25th, 2013 9


    Average men should not be setting policies and judging others, it takes exceptional & intelligent men. You should keep your judgements to yourself if you don’t want to come off as a small minded person. Stick to your opinions; don’t judge others.

    The Korean people would rather keep their liberty over a temporary security. Increased authority of police and stricter control could be seen as a recipe for disaster, given how little respect Koreans have for their president. They don’t want the government having so much power. They’d rather let small incidents slide and keep up with lack policing, if it means that the police don’t interfere where they shouldn’t be.

    Americans talks about liberty and freedom, but they’ve so freely given it away with permitting so much abuses of power by police forces. Have you worked in law enforcement before? Some stories of the blue code of silence, excessive force, misappropriation of assets, etc will shock you.

    “Korean seems to be running fine with the system they have.”
    “Hahahahahahaha! Sure it does!”

    When was the last time you’ve heard of accusations of police brutality by KNP?

  • Glans
    10:10 am on June 25th, 2013 10

    Chimo, are you speaking only of ROK, or is DPRK also a good example of Korean liberty?

  • Baek, In-je
    10:18 am on June 25th, 2013 11

    “Average men should not be setting policies and judging others, it takes exceptional & intelligent men.”

    …exceptional & intelligent men Korea have no.

    “small minded.”
    Every time a Korean refers to someone not Korean as small minded or rude, I cannot help but laugh at the hypocrisy.

  • Chimo
    11:33 am on June 25th, 2013 12


    Are we talking about US servicemen handcuffing DPRK citizens in their own country? And I’m not talking about Korean liberty in general (Korea still has a long way to go in terms of individual rights, corporate independence, judicial reform, etc); I’m talking about Korean liberty vis-a-vis interactions with the police. At least in Korea, you don’t have to worry about some disgruntled cop coming up with BS charges to make your life a living hell.


    I’m not Korean, and it’s hilarious to see you trying to impose your “values” on a society that seems to be running. Good job at dodging the topic though.

  • Glans
    11:46 am on June 25th, 2013 13

    Chimo, I’m not defending the American soldiers who handcuffed a Korean in his own country.

    But when you say, “At least in Korea, you don’t have to worry about some disgruntled cop coming up with BS charges to make your life a living hell,” are you including North Korea?

  • Chimo
    11:56 am on June 25th, 2013 14


    North Korea was not once mentioned in the article, the original post, or any of the comments before yours.. so in this context, when I write Korea, the North is not included.

  • You Get YOUR Facts Straight, Tool
    1:12 pm on June 25th, 2013 15

    The topic is not the actions of Korean police. The topic is not the actions of American police in America. The topic is the actions of American military police in Korea.

    They were out of line and there is no excuse. They were poorly selected, poorly trained and poorly led. Osan’s response has consisted of arrogance and denial.

    No military police should have such poor judgement or uncontrolled ego to arrest a known Korean citizen shop owner at his shop in Korea for not moving his vehicle from in front of his shop quickly enough. He had already moved it when they arrested him. They hunted him down and intentionally detained and hassled him when no offense was being committed only because he didn’t comply with their arbitrary demands quickly enough. The most basic law enforcement training would address this decision. This cannot be excused with “some lapses in judgment and missed opportunities to disengage and deescalate the situation”. This wording is insulting.

    All American military police who patrol in Korea should be 100% competent as to what action to take in any situation. Proper training would offer numerous scenarios to determine correct responses, just like is done in real law enforcement training. Competent leadership would know the importance of, and set priorities on, disengagement and deescalation over belligerence and aggression.

    This is the way it is regardless of how American police behave in America or Korean police behave in Korea.

    As for this going away because they are long gone, these town patrol guys were allowed to leave Korea on the condition that they would return if requested to in the course of resolving this matter. Osan is probably not quite arrogant enough to break a written agreement with the Korean government.

    If there was ever a chance for the Koreans to renegotiate the SOFA, this is it. Managed properly, the public would take to the streets.

  • tbonetylr
    1:14 pm on June 25th, 2013 16

    “Good job at dodging the topic though.”

    What is your point on this topic?

  • Chimo
    1:42 pm on June 25th, 2013 17

    @Tbonetyler #16

    My point on this topic is in #1. I disagree with the OP that the incident (or the subsequent Korean handling of it) is about “saving face” and “grandstanding”. To claim that after what has happened is pretty insulting and insensitive.

    The only possible justification for the airmen’s actions (and compliance with their training) is if they had probable cause and established that the shopowner or his vehicle was a credible threat to the US base or US servicemen. The facts we have is that is not the case. As such, the airmen overstepped their boundaries, and the Koreans are responding accordingly to 1. lodge protest 2. ensure the limits of US patrols are clearly defined and that they are trained to that effect 3. this doesn’t happen again. What part of this is grandstanding?

  • I like white ho'
    6:24 pm on June 25th, 2013 18

    Baek, you are worthless piece of crap. I tell ya. Your postings are real piece of shit. Anything you spew our is really worthless piece of shit that come from your smelly rear.

    So, do you get off writing your BS shit? I know where you are coming from and I know what your cultrue is. It’s really nothing. You got no culture.

    We all know that. And by the way, I like the way your mama moaned all night. She goooood.

  • Baek, In-je
    8:40 pm on June 25th, 2013 19

    well you aren’t a native English speaker. Either that or you have elementary problems writing.

    I don’t usually take advice from someone who calls themselves a ‘white ho.’

    ‘You got no culture…’ Sounds like a Spike Lee movie. Cool quote, bro.

    “And by the way, I like the way your mama moaned all night.”
    She doesn’t moan. She makes those whining noises that the Japanese MILFs make on pron videos (or so I have heard). But if you like fantasizing about septuagenarian GILFs with an artificial hip, you go for it brougham.

  • Bob
    11:54 pm on June 25th, 2013 20

    “Koreans have all but forgotten about this incident.”


    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  • Bob
    11:55 pm on June 25th, 2013 21

    You need to be medicated.

  • I dig white ho's
    4:32 am on June 26th, 2013 22

    KNP could handcuff GIs outside of the Gates right? but KNPs can not enter the U.S. bases and handcuff at their will right? So, SPs outside of the Gates should never never handcuff any Korean nationals. Period. Ain’t that easy?

  • Tom
    5:08 am on June 26th, 2013 23

    “If you put your hands on a peace officer in my country, please understand MY culture”

    You are in Korea, this is not your country, Baek. Why should Koreans understand your culture of police brutalities?

    Ha ha ha… what ROKDROP posted, I predicted it last year when it first happened. They waited until all the commotion died down, took all the GI’s out of the country, then pretend that something is being done about it, except that this is now the end of it. And everyone here thought I was crazy or something. Well look here now, what did I say? And it didn’t take a genius to predict the same old pattern! Yet nothing has changed, the GI MP’s still go around the town and acting like they are the law and continue to lay hands on Korean civilians. The Korean police are told to stay out on the sidelines, because you know we don’t want to upset the Americans with our complaints because they’re doing us a favor protecting South Korea against North Korea – so we have to let them do whatever they want. Orders from South Korean government. :roll:

  • Chimo
    6:47 am on June 26th, 2013 24

    @Baek #19,

    When I write on internet forums, I bang away on the keyboard with my chain of thought without giving it much proofreading. Your attempt at insult means nothing to me as I couldn’t care less what an internet troll thinks of my writing or whether I’m a native english speaker.

    But that is what you are. A troll. You’ve written comments all over this thread without a single relevant reference to the original article or the post, all the while creating unnecessary detraction through attack on the korean culture and ad hominem attacks. I don’t know if its due to the tone of this forum or you are specially permitted to spew off garbage out of sympathy of your shortcomings. Anyways, I’m out of this thread until meaningful comments are made.

  • MTB Rider
    6:51 am on June 26th, 2013 25

    What did you say, Tommy boy? You said G.I.s were shooting up your town, while you cowered in your bed. Then you said you grew up in Gangnam, and the girls there were so-so. :roll:

    You also said the North Korean Navy was fully justified in committing acts of piracy against Chinese fishermen in international or even Chinese waters. :evil:

    Basically Tommy, you talked heaping piles of crap is what you said. Too bad, because you actually had something to bitch about here, but being you, you overplayed your hand. :lol:

    G.I.s shooting up Gangnam 20 years ago. Yeah, whatever you twit. :roll: When are you ever going come back from Canada to do your duty to your country?

  • DaveVetRetRok
    6:49 pm on June 26th, 2013 26

    “Best Advice” – once you go outside the installation the dynamics change on all actions. One of the greatest challenges to society world-wide today is developing the ability to respect and acknowledge cultural differences while drawing on strengths of diversity. In the enforcement realm this is more so a great challenge. The police and all other law Enforcement professionals, “enforcement arena” must be on the cutting edge of meeting that challenge know the elements and limitations on actions. Solid training foundations and in-service training follow-up will be vital to effectively fulfill your mission and responsibilities. The most vital part of all lessons (like this one), in life is where to improve and fix where possible and you have control of.

    Our Security Forces members see people at their best and people at their worst. It is oftentimes people who are in dire need of help and fall victim to violence, domestic abuse, sexual predators, and other crimes. Every day, they are at risk defending against such dangers. No two calls for help are alike. During great danger, we tend to notice most people running out of harm’s way, far less noticeable are those who can be seen moving toward it.

    In fact, that is precisely what our partnership with host country is all about…making a difference in people’s lives (both sides-always a two-way street to be effective! If unsure ask the question, clarify without blame prior to any actions channel up and channel down! Also remember (Verbal Judo-means gentle way deflect and overcome and path forward). It’s time to move forward!!

  • Tom
    8:39 pm on June 26th, 2013 27

    “G.I.s shooting up Gangnam 20 years ago.”

    Eh… excuse me. but when and where did I claim GI’s shooting up Gangnam 20+ years ago? But I did say they were shooting up Gunsan at night, I often heard US army rifles being fired by trigger happy G.I’s who were high with whatever they were breathing. :roll:

  • Bobby Ray
    9:19 pm on June 26th, 2013 28

    It’s time to move forward. I reckon it’s good advice.

    It’s time to move forward and grab that little yellow fellow and cuff him.

    That sure will teach him not to talk back next time he don’t recognize the cultural difference of authority and don’t beg to be told how high when commanded to jump at any place and any time for any reason.

    Hooray for the police but best I can tell from reading the story and the comments these boys were so wrong that no amount of flowery talk can excuse them.

  • ronny D
    10:14 pm on June 27th, 2013 29

    its all irrelevant now anyway. I was behind one of the crooked cops on a Friday at subway and he was being put on an airplane that following monday. the others had already been shipped at PDQ. I am sure in their records they will never come back to korea.

  • I bang white ho's
    1:59 am on June 28th, 2013 30

    I bang white ho’s on SOFA. They scream like crazy. Aaahhhhhhh!!!!

  • JoeC
    10:24 pm on December 11th, 2013 31

    Revised Guidelines

    The revised guidelines, called the Agreed View, bar U.S. officers from enforcing the law on anyone besides American soldiers while conducting a patrol outside of military facilities, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

    “The revised guidelines are aimed at improving the ways of operating the rule on American military police officers’ patrol activities and stressing the point that they should be used to maintain discipline and order among American soldiers only,” the ministry said.

  • Leon LaPorte
    11:08 pm on December 11th, 2013 32

    31. No problem, except, what does an American soldier look like?

  • ChickenHead
    12:19 am on December 12th, 2013 33

    “The U.S. side, headed by Lt. General Jan-Marc Jouas, vowed to ramp up military discipline”

    I have heard some variation of that line twice a year for decades. It must not mean what I think it means.

    Maybe they are referring to dominatrices?

  • PHT-Advocator
    12:33 am on December 12th, 2013 34

    “anyone besides American soldiers”

    Does that mean Contractors, DA Civiilians, and dependants won’t be hassled?

    Hmmm… business might be picking up. ;)


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