Here we go again with the Korean left pushing propaganda about the US-ROK Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA):
Nearly 7 in 10 criminal offenses committed by members of US forces stationed in South Korea end up with no one being charged by South Korean authorities, a lawmaker said Tuesday.
According to government data released Tuesday by Rep. Park Byeong-seug of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, the nonprosecution rate for crimes committed by US military personnel here stands at a whopping 70.7 percent as of July this year, up from 58.2 percent in 2014.
The figure for violent crimes, including murder, rape and robbery, is even higher at 81.3 percent, meaning 8 out of 10 offenders do not go through the Korean system. This proportion is higher than in 2014, when the number stood at 63 percent.
As for illegal drug use, which is strictly punished in South Korea, 42.9 percent of the accused members of US forces avoided indictment this year, up from 33.3 percent in 2014.
Rep. Park pointed to the Status of Forces Agreement between the US and South Korea as the main reason behind the leniency. [Korea Herald via a reader tip]
Can someone name the last Korean that was murdered or even raped by a US soldier? I can’t even remember the last murder committed by a US soldier because it has been so long. The last rape accusation was back in February and guess what the soldier was charged by Korean authorities. Since then nothing has come out about this case which people can draw their own conclusions about. Bottom line there is not a rash of rapes and murders going on in Korea as Representative Park leads people to believe. That leaves violent crimes being mostly assaults and robberies. So why weren’t these servicemembers not charged by Korean authorities like Rep. Park Byeong-seug wants? Because ROK authorities gave up jurisdiction to the US military:
He did not give details on how the US military dealt with those crimes it took under its jurisdiction, or what proportion of nonprosecutions were prosecuted by the US military.
“When such crime is committed by US soldiers, the US Army sends a request to South Korea’s Justice Ministry to give up the jurisdiction, and in most cases, we accept their request,” the five-term lawmaker explained.
“SOFA should be revised immediately to protect our jurisdiction rights and lives and property of our citizens.”
So what is Rep. Park complaining about the SOFA when it is working the way it is supposed to? If Korea wants to handle every assault and robbery case involving a USFK servicemember they can. However, they choose not to. Why is that? It could be because local authorities do not want to deal with the paperwork and the need for translators to properly handle a SOFA case. Instead of complaining about the SOFA Rep. Park should take measures to ensure local authorities are better resourced to handle SOFA cases if he wants more servicemembers tried in Korean courts.
However the real issue here is not the SOFA, but instead this is just another area where the Korean left is trying to draw a wedge between the US and the South Korean public. Remember the Korean leftists want the US military out of Korea because they feel this is what is hindering reconciliation with North Korea. However, the majority of the ROK public wants the US military to stay because of the threat from North Korea. So the leftists have to demagogue these fake issues like the SOFA to change the public’s opinion of the US military. They have for decades pushed this narrative that US troops are running around Korea committing all these crimes and getting away with it. This is of course proven by data to be untrue. This latest SOFA claim is just the continuing of this drum beat.