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U.S. soldier caught after deserting military unit ahead of trial

South Korean police said Thursday they have taken an American soldier into custody five days after he deserted his front-line base ahead of a trial on charges of possessing child pornography.

The 25-year-old serviceman was caught in western Seoul at around at 5:30 p.m. by police who chased after him near the area based on his credit card payment information, officials said.

The soldier, whose identity was withheld, was serving at U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey in Dongducheon, some 40 kilometers north of Seoul.

The Army private left his army unarmed late Saturday as he was set to stand trial Wednesday, police said.

The soldier was handed over to the military police at the 2nd Infantry Division for further investigation, they noted.

About 28,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The Status of Forces Agreement between the two nations grants the U.S. military jurisdiction over its soldiers accused of local crimes, preventing South Korean authorities from having full-fledged law enforcement capabilities. (Yonhap)



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