The Korea Herald

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US soldier in North Korea had been convicted for aggression against South Korean police

By Kim Arin

Published : July 20, 2023 - 17:59

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Korean border village of Panmunjom (Im Sejun/The Korea Herald) Korean border village of Panmunjom (Im Sejun/The Korea Herald)

Travis King, the US soldier who fled to North Korea on Tuesday, had been convicted earlier for aggression against the South Korean police, a court ruling reveals.

According to the Seoul Western District Court ruling obtained by The Korea Herald, the American had damaged a police car and shouted expletives at officers who were called to a nightclub in Seoul, where King was reported for assaulting a man.

At 3:46 a.m. on Oct. 8, King was arrested for acts of aggression against the police that included kicking the rear door on the right side of the patrol car, the court document read. He caused 583,959 won ($460) worth of damage to the car.

He also yelled expletives at the officers -- “F--k Korean police, f--k Korean Army, f--k Koreans” -- and attempted to threaten the man, then-aged 23, who called the police accusing the soldier of pushing him and hitting him several times in the face.

He later admitted to the accusations of assault, saying he got upset after the 23-year-old refused to pass him drinks at the nightclub, where they met as visitors.

They later agreed to settle, and King was not indicted for assault charges.

For damaging the police vehicle, the Seoul district court in February this year gave him a fine of 5 million won or 50 days of detention in a workhouse in case of a failure to pay the fine.

King, a private who joined the US Army in 2021, is believed to have willfully crossed the border without authorization and to be in North Korean custody.