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(LEAD) Mortar shell goes way off target during Army exercise

Defense 16:36 May 19, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 6, 7; UPDATES with minor edits)

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- A mortar shell launched during a recent firing exercise landed about 1 kilometer away from the target, the Army acknowledged Tuesday, in the latest in a series of incidents highlighting lax discipline in the military.

The shell fired from a 4.2-inch mortar at a training field in Yangju, just north of Seoul, missed the target and fell on a nearby hill Thursday, according to the Army.

No human casualty or property damage was reported.

"It appears there were some errors in checking the firing charge," Army spokesperson Col. Jeon Ha-kyu told a regular press briefing.

Authorities are looking into the exact cause of the incident.

Separately, a KR-6 machine gun was accidentally fired during an inspection at a Marine unit in Gimpo, west of Seoul, last Wednesday.

The bullet flew some 600 to 700 km and fell into the Han River. The Marine Corps said it is working to come up with measures to prevent similar incidents from recurring.

The recent cases came as the military has come under fire for a series of incidents indicating lapses in discipline.

Earlier this month, the military vowed to beef up regular inspections of weapons after a malfunction in a KR-6 gun caused a delay in response to North Korea's gunfire.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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