Security team

Biden’s Secret Service agents sent home after report of drunken assault in South Korea

U.S. President Joe Biden disembarks from Air Force One as he arrives at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea May 20, 2022. Lee Jin-man/Pool via REUTERS

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SEOUL, May 20 (Reuters) – Two U.S. Secret Service agents who worked on Joe Biden’s trip to Asia are being sent home after one was charged with assaulting a drunk South Korean man the eve of the president’s arrival in Seoul, officials said.

A Yongsan district police official told Reuters that one of the officers was arrested in the early hours of Thursday after fighting for a taxi.

A US official disputed whether the individual was detained or arrested, saying only that he had been “investigated” by South Korean officials. The official said the other officer involved in the dispute has not been investigated for wrongdoing.

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“The Secret Service is aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees that may constitute potential violations of policy,” said Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the agency.

“Individuals will be immediately returned to their work stations and placed on administrative leave. There has been no impact on the journey ahead.”

The incident happened outside the Grand Hyatt hotel, where Biden was due to stay as he begins his May 20-24 trip to South Korea and Japan. Biden arrived in Seoul on Friday evening. Read more

The South Korean police official did not provide the name or other information about the suspect.

The Secret Service is the US agency that protects the President and the White House. Members of the Secret Service have periodically been implicated in incidents related to misconduct abroad in the past.

In 2012, 11 Secret Service agents were fired from Colombia for alleged “misconduct” involving arguments with prostitutes ahead of a visit by then-President Barack Obama.

TV Chosun, a South Korean broadcaster that first reported the incident in Seoul, said the suspect was in his 30s and was arrested after another hotel guest called police.

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Reporting by Joori Roh, Josh Smith and Trevor Hunnicutt Editing by Frances Kerry

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