South Korea

First Police Shooting of the Year in South Korea Involved U.S. Soldiers in a High Speed Chase

More than 25,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea at a cost of at least $15 billion a year

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Edward N. Johnson/U.S. Army

U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea since the start of the Korean War more than sixty years ago, but it wasn't until this month that any were fired on by South Koreans, according to Stars and Stripes, which reports:

[T]he first time it [a police shooting in South Korea] happened this year came when an officer fired three shots at a car and wounded a U.S. soldier this month, according to the National Police Agency.

It also is believed to be the first time that a South Korean officer has shot a U.S. Forces Korea servicemember.

The March 3 shooting, which followed a high-speed car chase across Seoul after three soldiers were involved in a BB gun shooting, landed a private first class in intensive care and led military officials to apologize for a prank that went bad…

Two of the soldiers have admitted to taking BB potshots in a crowded intersection in front of the Hamilton Hotel, with a corporal saying she did so "for fun." The shooting prompted one civilian to place an emergency call shortly before midnight on March 2 and report that foreigners were targeting him.

South Korean cops fired their guns just 20 times in all of 2012. Police say the soldiers reversed the car several times and struck one officer in the knee. According to Stars and Stripes, the soldiers first told military police that the private first class had been "shot by Arabs," before revealing the truth. The military won't make a decision on whether to prosecute any of the soldiers involved until after they've gone through the South Korean judicial system.

More than 25,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. Several years ago Cato's Doug Bandow estimated that the cost to the U.S. of keeping those troops there ran to more than $15 billion a year (as much, Bandow noted, as South Korea spends on its entire defense budget). Politifact tackled the issue last year when Donald Trump claimed that South Korea didn't pay the U.S. for the protection it received, finding that South Korea pays around $670 million a year as per a "burden sharing" agreement.  Doesn't seem like much of a shared burden compared to the $15 billion total price tag for the U.S. (and estimates for U.S. costs have ranged up to $40 billion).

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  1. Two of the soldiers have admitted to taking BB potshots in a crowded intersection in front of the Hamilton Hotel, with a corporal saying she did so “for fun.” The shooting prompted one civilian to place an emergency call shortly before midnight on March 2 and report that foreigners were targeting him.

    I have only spent a couple of weeks in Korea once. But even from that two weeks, it was obvious anyone who would even think of fucking with Korean cops is too dumb to live.

    1. You’re not in Chicago now kid.

  2. the soldiers first told military police that the private first class had been “shot by Arabs,”

    “for fun”, no doubt.

  3. Clearly, this South Korean was brainwashed by the Norks characterization of Americans as imperialist dogs.

  4. “The military won’t make a decision on whether to prosecute any of the soldiers involved until after they’ve gone through the South Korean judicial system.”

    I’m glad to hear they’ll be going through the South Korean judicial system.

    1. “for fun” ain’t gonna cut it.

  5. “Doesn’t seem like much of a shared burden compared to the $15 billion total price tag for the U.S. (and estimates for U.S. costs have ranged up to $40 billion).”

    Judging from Korean people I’ve known, they’d just as soon the U.S. left. I think if foreign troops were stationed in the U.S., that would bug the hell out of me–and if I had to pay for them to be there, that would make it even worse.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure the South Koreans hold the U.S. back from attacking the North so much as the U.S. works to restrain the South Koreans from retaliating themselves.

    If some country shelled one of our towns and sank one of our ships, we’d do a lot more than just retaliate. Yeah, if some foreign country restrained us from retaliating against an attack like that, I’d hate that foreign country even more than I would hate them for charging us to occupy their country.

    Also, it seems to me that North Korea probably feels like it can attack the like it does–specifically becasue the U.S. is there to restrain the South. We’re probably acting as something like a moral hazard, inviting the North to provoke the South, where maybe they wouldn’t if we weren’t there.

  6. “””‘$15 billion total price tag for the U.S.””

    And some people say we can’t cut the US budget.

    1. That could easily be brought down to $1.5 billion, and the ROKs could pay it or we could leave and make it $0. Either way.

  7. South Korean cops fired their guns just 20 times in all of 2012.

    I can hear the Cleveland PD laughing from here.

    1. That is one early afternoon for them, yes?

    2. Bullets make dog meat inedible.

  8. Yet another reason to leave. The South Koreans hate our guts because of dumb fucks like these and the dipshits who ran over a Korean kid with an APC.

  9. More than 25,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. Several years ago Cato’s Doug Bandow estimated that the cost to the U.S. of keeping those troops there ran to more than $15 billion a year

    That’s over $500,000 per troop. That may be the cost of those troops, but it seems impossible that it’s the marginal cost of them doing the same shit in Korea that they’d be doing here.

  10. “Shot by Arabs”? Wtf? You’re in KOREA, dumbasses! What morons would think they could get away with an excuse like that?

    1. “What morons would think they could get away with an excuse like that?”

      You answered your own question…morons would think that.

    2. Well, if you’re not smart enough to realize that shooting people and then running from the police, in a foreign country no less, is a dumb idea, then that probably sounds like a genius excuse.

    3. Morons who shoot at cars with a bb gun?

  11. This story is relevant to…what?

  12. $15 Billion and this is the caliber of our soldiers. If I were a South Korean I’d be worried about whether or not the Americans could fight their way out of a paper bag.

  13. I suppose you’re saying our brave heroes aren’t entitled to a little fun with the natives.

    1. Hey, if we’re going to be the world’s policeman, why not act like it? The South Koreans would probably thank us for shooting their dogs anyway.

  14. Does Korea have a 2nd Amendment? How many guns do Korean citizens own?

    Cops in America use their guns often because Americans have guns. This should be pretty obvious.

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