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Private Arrested for Throwing Grenade in Barracks

Posted November. 28, 2008 03:00,   


Military authorities yesterday arrested a 20-year-old private identified only as “Hwang” as the prime suspect in a grenade explosion at a frontline unit`s barracks in Cheorwon County, Gangwon Province.

“The Army’s investigation headquarters detailed Pvt. Hwang as the prime suspect,” an Army official said. “To my knowledge, Hwang has confessed to investigators.”

Army investigators grilled Hwang after finding dark green tape that wrapped the detonated grenade’s box near his locker and his fingerprints on the safety handle of the grenade.

Having finished his guard duty Sunday, Hwang dropped to the situation room and stole a grenade from the ammunition box of a private to commit the crime.

Hwang is believed to have waited until his fellow soldiers fell asleep and threw it inside the barracks.

The Army’s investigation headquarters plans to file an arrest warrant against him after additional questioning today.

▽ His motive

“The duties required at the guard post, such as repairing its facilities, were difficult. I also find it hard to deal with colleagues,” Park was quoted as saying by the Army.

An Army official also said Hwang did not claim to have been physically abused by fellow privates. Army investigators, however, are also reportedly investigating whether fellow privates treated him cruelly or bullied him.

“Hwang, who was enlisted in July, found life at the guard post tough since one is alienated from society. He presumably committed the crime due to his difficulty in adjusting to military life,” another Army official said. “It is difficult, however, to find the exact motive of his crime as he has constantly changed his testimony.”

Military authorities will conduct an additional investigation into the working situation of officers in the situation room. Hwang said nobody, including officers who were having a conversation in the room, noticed him stealing the grenade.

A military official said the key to the small ammunition room in the situation room must be kept by the head or vice head of the guard post. “Stern punishment is inevitable in the chain of command if management of the ammunition room was loose,” he said.