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Korean Prosecutors to Press Murder Charges Against U.S. Soldier

November 7, 1992

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korean prosecutors said today they will charge a U.S. soldier with the murder of a Korean bar hostess they say was raped and tortured before she died.

The violent nature of the crime and the implication that an American soldier might be involved has inflamed citizens living near the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division at Uijongbu, 12 miles north of Seoul.

About 1,000 slogan-chanting citizens and students held an anti-U.S. protest today, marching to the main gate of the base. No clashes with police were reported. All U.S. servicemen were ordered to stay inside the base.

Prosecutors said Pvt. 2nd Class Kenneth L. Markle, 20, confessed to killing the bar hostess on the night of Oct. 28 at Dongduchon, 31 miles northeast of Seoul.

Markle, now confined at a U.S. detention center at Camp Humphreys south of Seoul, was questioned by South Korean officials Friday.

The U.S. military command in Seoul declined to give Markle’s hometown and other information under a U.S. privacy act.

Markle was suspected of killing Yun Kum-i, 26, after arguing with her on Oct. 28. Police said she was raped, stabbed and tortured before her death.

Citizens charged Korean police with being lax in their investigation and handed out anti-American leaflets. Taxi drivers in the city launched a boycott of American customers.

About 36,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea under a mutual defense agreement and about 14,000 of them are stationed near Uijongbu.

Relations between Koreans and U.S. soldiers have been strained in past because of anti-American sentiment that has grown here, fanned by dissidents and student campaigns.