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Ex-S. Korea Lawmaker Hospitalized

September 15, 2002

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A former South Korean legislator was hospitalized with a broken nose and other injuries after brawling with an American soldier in the Seoul subway, his aides said Sunday.

The fight broke out Saturday when Suh Kyong-won, 65, and other activists were handing out flyers about the deaths of two South Korean teenage girls who were struck by an American armored military vehicle on June 13. The vehicle belonged to the 2nd Infantry Division.

Suh’s aides said in a news release that Pvt. John Murphy swore at Suh and punched his face and upper body.

The U.S. military said Murphy and Pvts. Eric Owens and Shane Tucker _ all belonging to the 2nd Infantry Division _ were assaulted by Suh and his colleagues when Murphy refused to take a flyer written in Korean, which he cannot read. The hometowns of the three U.S. soldiers were not released.

A Korean man, believed to Suh, punched Murphy in the face, and then at least four other South Koreans attacked Murphy, the U.S. military command said in a statement. Murphy allegedly struck Suh in defense, it said.

The three soldiers said they were punched, kicked and spat on by activists after getting off to take the next train, the statement said.

South Korean activists claimed that Murphy had acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologized to Suh on Saturday.

Murphy said he was forced to apologize to Suh, according to the U.S. military.

``No charges have apparently been bought against the Korean participants in this incident, but it is expected that charges of restraint against one’s will and aggravated assault will be filed,″ the U.S. military statement said.

The United States, which led United Nations forces to fight on South Korea’s side in the 1950-53 Korean War, keeps 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against communist North Korea.

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