A wild Fourth of July party on a popular beach in the southern city of Busan has left US military officials red-faced and expressing regret for the “disruptive behavior” of American troops.
Hundreds of police officers were dispatched to break up the out-of-control festivities Saturday on Haeundae Beach in Busan, after receiving more than 70 complaints from local residents, Kim Gamel of Stars & Stripes reported.
One soldier was briefly detained and fined for a misdemeanor after throwing a firework in the direction of police, then trying to flee the scene, according to the public affairs office at the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency.
Two traffic accidents and a drunken-driving case involving soldiers also were reported in the area, the report said.
“The foreigners were setting off fireworks, sparklers and so on along the path leading to the beach, even throwing some toward people,” an official said.
“They also installed speakers and played loud music. They clogged up the road, did not make way for cars and flipped folks off.”
US Forces Korea said it was aware of disruptive behavior and poor conduct reports in Busan and promised to cooperate with South Korean law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify those responsible, the report said.
“We regret the inconvenience and disruption this behavior caused the people of Busan,” the command said in a statement.
It called the behavior “deeply troubling” and not representative of “the strong respect we hold for the Korean people, their culture, laws and regulations,” the report said.
“All commanders will take appropriate action for those service members determined to be involved in this type of behavior,” it said. “USFK remains committed to being good neighbors with our host nation and maintaining a strong [South Korea]-U.S. alliance.”
The statement was issued after civic groups held rallies in Seoul and Busan, denouncing the troops’ actions and calling for an apology, the report said.
Rowdy troop behavior on beaches also has been a problem in nearby Japan.
The commander of Naval Base Sasebo, Capt. Brad Stallings, said last week that members of the military community had recently caused problems at Shirahama Beach, leaving trash and playing loud music that offended locals, the report said.