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S. Korea used stand-in to act as captured fugitive

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korean military officials used a stand-in to portray a captured runaway soldier to deceive journalists as the real fugitive was taken to a hospital following a failed suicide attempt, a Defense Ministry official said Tuesday.

The ploy was used because the fugitive needed swift medical treatment and the media could have caused a delay, said a ministry official who requested anonymity citing department rules.

He said two ambulances were used, one carrying the injured fugitive and the other with another soldier whose body and face were covered by a blanket. The decoy was carried into the hospital in the eastern city of Gangneung as photographers snapped pictures.

The official said the ambulance carrying the real fugitive entered the hospital through its basement.

He said it wasn't clear if military personnel at the hospital had directly lied to dozens of journalists waiting there. But he said the personnel apparently deceived journalists into mistaking the stand-in for the fugitive.

The ministry made the acknowledgment following speculation from South Korean media that a stand-in had been used.

The official said the decoy had been requested by personnel sent from the hospital. However, a public affairs official at GangNeung Asan Hospital denied that, saying a hospital official only asked about using a decoy ambulance and the hospital wasn't aware that a stand-in was being used. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with office policy.

The 22-year-old sergeant surnamed Yim fled after allegedly killing five colleagues and wounding seven others Saturday. He is accused of firing at troops chasing him on Sunday, injuring a platoon leader. He shot himself on Monday before being captured, according to the Defense Ministry.

It's not known what caused Yim to go on the alleged shooting spree. He was to finish his mandatory military duty in September. Initial personality tests in April of last year put him within a group of soldiers who need special attention and are unfit for frontline duty, according to the Defense Ministry. But tests last November concluded he had improved and could serve in frontline areas, defense officials said.

Shooting rampages against fellow soldiers happen occasionally in South Korea's military. The country maintains a conscription system that requires all able-bodied men to serve about two years because of threats from North Korea.

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rwitchwoman63 June 24 2014 at 9:13 AM

It's actually kind of neat that South Korea makes it mandatory that young men have to serve their country for two years....It is interesting to note also that Sweden does the same thing but they make it mandatory for men and women right out of high school to serve in the Swedish army....I think it would be a good thing to do in this country, nothing wrong with teaching our kids right out of high school the value of team work, and teaching them a skill when they get out.

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4 replies
senfoghorn1 June 24 2014 at 8:40 AM

This happens all the time in America. A stand-in for President Obama comes on TV and says, for example, I didn't know anything about the scandal at the VA, I read it in the newspaper. The stand-in is known as the Sergeant Schultz stand-in: he knows nothing, he sees nothing, he hears nothing AND he acts accordingly.

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1 reply
karen's computer senfoghorn1 June 24 2014 at 9:47 AM

And the clueless begin spewing forth their lack of intelligence.

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bigred8690 June 24 2014 at 8:38 AM

He must be Bowe Bergdahl's long lost Korean cousin.

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2 replies
dan bigred8690 June 24 2014 at 9:11 AM

Pure wit right here, you must be a riot.

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karen's computer bigred8690 June 24 2014 at 9:58 AM

I thought you were grounded.

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1 reply
coopdabomb karen's computer June 24 2014 at 12:48 PM

Do you have a "Karens TV " also?

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senyam June 24 2014 at 10:50 AM

Whats the big deal? Obama lies to us whenever he feels like it.

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1 reply
stukk senyam June 24 2014 at 3:55 PM

Everytime he opens his mouth!

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laclone June 24 2014 at 10:35 AM

Mandatory two years military service. I wish we had that here.
2 years active, followed by a 4 year inactive reserve duty.
Heck! Just the experience of Boot Camp alone would help separate the wheat from the chaff in the young people today.

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coopdabomb June 24 2014 at 8:49 AM

They learned how to deceive people from osama obama and his administration.

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2 replies
karen's computer coopdabomb June 24 2014 at 9:53 AM

Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner for the lack of education award! Now carry on and wow the world with your wit.

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1 reply
coopdabomb karen's computer June 24 2014 at 12:45 PM

I guess the truth hurts. Thats ok just remember to lean forward you'll be fine.

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skipdude37 coopdabomb June 24 2014 at 3:57 PM

Stay ignorant, the truth will only mess with your brain.

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moooooooooochelle June 24 2014 at 10:03 AM


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quincy_maxwell June 24 2014 at 10:53 AM

Anyone else having problems with the comments pages on here? Showing up on the right hand side of the screen now?
Get with it AOL!

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1 reply
meepstein quincy_maxwell June 24 2014 at 11:45 AM

Still no cure for stupid.

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keithj77441 June 24 2014 at 8:20 AM

Punk'd the media........ GangNeung style

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Dean Sutton June 24 2014 at 9:40 AM

Add a comment.The "Media" are always demanding that it is their right to interfere, get in the way, and criticize.

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