The top U.S. commander in South Korea is calling for increased vigilance at American bases in the country after a man successfully gained unauthorized entry to Camp Humphreys for the third time in just a few days.
The South Korean man drove through the main gate of the U.S. Army post 40 miles south of Seoul at 4:20 a.m. on Saturday, damaging the boom barrier, according to Stars and Stripes. He was pursued by military police during a car chase before he was apprehended about 10 minutes later and handed over to local authorities, Stripes reported.
While U.S. Forces-Korea confirmed in a statement that the man “was successfully interdicted each time by Camp Humphreys authorities without incident or injury,” Army Gen. Vincent Brooks was critical of how the intrusions were handled, according to Stars and Stripes.
“I am disappointed this individual wasn’t dealt with better after the initial incident or even his second attempt to breach security,” Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces-Korea, said in the statement. “We will work with local leadership adjacent to all of our bases — to include those in Pyeongtaek near Camp Humphreys — to ensure these types of dangerous situations don’t occur at our various installations.”
Stripes reported that officials initially did not mention to the paper that this was the man’s third attempt to enter the base without authorization. Officials also declined to provide more details to Stars and Stripes about his previous attempts.
The suspect reportedly suffers from mental illness and frequently stood outside the base, according to two local police officials interviewed by Stripes.
No gunshots were fired, and no injuries reported, officials told Stars and Stripes, but they added that these breaches “have the potential to endanger the safety of those who live and work on base, as well as those in the surrounding community.”
Camp Humphreys is home to 8th Army headquarters and will eventually host most of U.S. Forces-Korea.
“We must remain vigilant about force protection at our bases on the peninsula so we can protect our U.S. and [Republic of Korea] service members and citizens,” Brooks said.