Travis King: US soldier got in fights, damaged police car before dash to North Korea

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Travis King: US soldier got in fights, damaged police car before dash to North Korea

Months before his escape to North Korea, U.S. soldier Travis King faced two assault allegations and was fined for damaging a police car in South Korea, according to a court ruling and his lawyer.

The U.S. military was trying to determine what happened to King, who crossed the inter-Korean border into North Korea without authorization, creating a new crisis for Washington’s dealings with the nuclear-armed state.

The reasons behind King’s risky decision to flee into North Korea remain unclear.

U.S. officials stated that King had completed his detention in South Korea for an unspecified offense and was being transported by the U.S. military to the airport to return to his home unit in the United States. However, he apparently decided to join a tour to the North Korean border instead.

King pleaded guilty to assault and destruction of public property in connection with an incident in October. On February 8, the Seoul Western District Court fined him 5 million won ($4,000).

Two anonymous U.S. officials revealed that the soldier was supposed to face disciplinary action by the U.S. military, but it is unclear if this action was related to his conviction for damaging the police vehicle.

According to the Seoul court, on September 25 of the previous year, King punched a man multiple times at a club, but the case was settled. Two weeks later, on October 8, police officers responded to another altercation involving King. He refused to answer their questions and continued with aggressive behavior. He was placed in the backseat of their patrol car, where he shouted insults and kicked the vehicle’s door, causing damages.

The court acknowledged that King admitted to the charges, had no prior criminal record, and paid for the vehicle’s repairs, which were factors in his sentencing.

A spokesperson for U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) declined to confirm whether King had been in South Korean or U.S. military detention. However, one of King’s lawyers stated that he had been in U.S. military detention in Pyeongtaek since the October incident.

The lawyer, who chose to remain anonymous, said they were unaware of King’s custody status or whereabouts after February. Other lawyers listed in court documents were not available for comment.

King’s mother expressed shock at the news of her son crossing into North Korea, stating that she couldn’t imagine him doing something like that.

($1 = 1,266.9100 won)

Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Josh Smith and Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards: The Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles.

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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