Skip to content

Travis King faced assault allegations, damaged police car before running to North Korea


Thanks for contacting us. We’ve received your submission.

The US soldier who ran across the border into North Korea Tuesday was facing multiple assault allegations as well as a fine for damaging a police vehicle.

Army Private 2nd Class Travis King, 23, was accused of punching a man several times in the face at a club on September 25 last year, Seoul court records indicate.

Two weeks later, on October 8, Korean authorities responded to another dust-up involving King, who was allegedly displaying “aggressive behavior,” according to the court documents.

When police put him in the backseat of the patrol car, King reportedly spouted expletives and insults aimed at Koreans, the South Korean army, and the police.

He then kicked the patrol car door several times, resulting in about 584,000 won, or $460, in damages, the ruling said.

King, who had no previous offenses, later pleaded guilty to charges of assault and destruction of public goods, and paid $790 to repair the patrol car, the court stated.

On February 8 this year, the Seoul Western District Court also fined him 5 million won, the equivalent of approximately $3,950.

King was facing disciplinary action from the US military, according to two anonymous US officials.

It was not immediately clear if the censure was related to the October incident.

The solider spent time in US military detention in Pyeongtaek, South Korea following the October debacle, one of the lawyers who represented him at the time claimed

A spokesperson for the US Forces Korea (USFK), however, declined to confirm whether King had been in South Korean or US military detention.

The solider spent time in US military detention in Pyeongtaek, South Korea following the October debacle, one of the lawyers who represented him at the time claimed

King was set to fly back to the US on Tuesday when he slipped his military escort and was spotted wearing civilian clothes at a tour of the Joint Security Area — the border village in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas that is guarded by soldiers from both sides.

“It took everybody a second to react and grasp what had actually happened, then we were ordered into and through Freedom House and running back to our military bus,” a Swedish visitor who was on King’s tour wrote of the moment he purportedly ran across the border loudly cackling “ha-ha-ha.”

“I thought it was a bad joke at first, but when he didn’t come back, I realized it wasn’t a joke, and then everybody reacted and things got crazy,” another witness said.

US officials say that King made a “deliberate decision” to cross into North Korea, but they have not elaborated on how he eluded officials en route to the airport and made it to the demilitarized zone.

“We’re closely monitoring and investigating the situation and working to notify the soldier’s next-of-kin and engaging to address this incident,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters Tuesday.

King is now believed to be in custody in North Korea, the UN Command said on Twitter.

“[We] are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident,” they continued, referring to North Korea’s People’s Army.

Today's News.
For Conservatives.
Every Single Day.

News Opt-in
(Optional) By checking this box you are opting in to receive news notifications from News Rollup. Text HELP for help, STOP to end. Message & data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Privacy Policy & Terms:
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.