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(LEAD) USFK soldiers demoted for visiting off-post bar, returning through fence hole

Defense 16:30 April 22, 2020

(ATTN: REWRITES headline, lead)

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- Three American soldiers based in South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu have been demoted and ordered to pay forfeiture for exiting their post in violation of coronavirus quarantine rules and coming back through a hole in the fence, the 8th Army said Wednesday.

A private first class of the 94th Military Police Battalion is accused of exiting Camp Walker in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, for an unauthorized purpose and entering the post through a hole he created in the installation's fence, according to the Army.

Two privates of the same battalion visited an off-post bar and entered the post through the hole. The Army held the two accountable for dereliction of duty for not reporting the hole in the fence.

It was not immediately clear if the private first class joined the two privates' visit to the bar, but the U.S. Army said the soldier is also accused of soliciting others to disobey orders.

All three of them have been reduced to the entry level of E-1 and ordered to pay a forfeiture of US$866 per month for two months. They also received 45 days of restriction and 45 days of extra duty, it said.

U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has been implementing a series of control measures against COVID-19, such as restricting off-base travel, and meted out strong punishment for non-compliance.

"The vast majority of our community is complying with our HPCON directives -- the positive results speak for themselves," USFK Commander Gen. Robert Abrams tweeted earlier in the day, referring to its Health Protection Condition Level. "Those few who choose to do their own thing and put everyone else at risk should expect to be held accountable."

So far, USFK has reported a total of 25 coronavirus infections among its population.

In this file photo, provided by U.S. Forces Korea, a military guard at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, checks the temperature of a driver to screen entrants to the compound for the novel coronavirus. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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