The commanding general of the country’s top special forces unit has been relieved of his duties for allegedly having inappropriate relations with a subordinate, Army officials said Friday.
Brig. Gen. Choi Ik-bong, commander of the Special Warfare Command, also recently expressed his intention to retire from the service, officials added, after the Army launched an investigation into suspicions that he engaged in inappropriate relations with a female staff sergeant in 2009. Choi, then a major general, was serving as a division commander, and the female non-commissioned officer (NCO) was with a subordinate unit, according to the Army.
Choi became a three-star general last November, while the female NCO is currently a sergeant first class.
Maj. Gen. Yoon Gwang-seob, deputy commander of the Special Warfare Command, will serve as the interim commander.
The Army recently held counseling sessions with female officers and NCOs over sexual exploitation and abuse. The NCO in question reportedly testified that there had been inappropriate relations between herself and Choi.
The Army is still trying to determine whether Choi had used his rank to coerce the NCO into having relations with him.
“When it comes to sexual misconduct, we will take stern measures regardless of the offender’s rankings,” an Army official told reporters. “We will look further into whether there have been other cases.”