A Secret Service agent assigned to President ’s Asia trip allegedly drunkenly assaulted a South Korean. The agent, along with a fellow colleague, are being sent back to the US.
One of the agents was arrested early Thursday after getting into an altercation over a taxi, according to a Yonghan district police official.
However, a US official said the agent was ‘investigated’ by South Korean authorities and would not confirm that the agent was arrested or detained. The other Secret Service agent was not investigated for wrongdoing, the official said.
‘The Secret Service is aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees which may constitute potential policy violations,’ said Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi on Friday.
‘The individuals will be immediately returned back to their post of duty and placed on administrative leave. There was no impact to the upcoming trip.
Guglielmi added that the agency has ‘very strict protocols and policies for all employees and we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards’. It is ‘an active administrative personnel matter’ and he declined to comment further.
South Korean broadcaster TV Chosun reported that one of the agents was in his 30s and taken into custody after another hotel guest called cops.
The incident took place outside the Grand Hyatt hotel a day before Biden arrived for his stay there. Biden landed in Seoul on Friday evening for his trip that includes South Korea and Japan, through Tuesday.
It is not the first time that Secret Service agents have been caught misbehaving on official trips. In 2012, 11 agents accused of ‘misconduct’ around disputes with prostitutes were sent to the US before then-President Barack Obama arrived in Colombia.
Biden began his trip by meeting South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol at a Samsung microchip factory. The trip, among other objectives, seeks to demonstrate the US’s continued intent to counter China.
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